Michael J. Cummings...©
Pamela Andrews is a servant at an estate in the county of Bedfordshire,
England. She keeps a journal and frequently writes home to her impoverished
parents, John and Elizabeth Andrews. In her latest letter, she reports
news of the death of her elderly employer, Lady B., but says her son, Squire
B., plans to retain her and the rest of the staff. She encloses in the
letter four guineas the young man gave her as a gesture of good faith.
All he asks is that she remain a good and diligent employee.
she has a chance to seal and send the letter, which she wrote in the deceased
woman~ez_rsquo~s dressing room, the squire enters and reads it. Pamela is embarrassed.
However, he compliments her on her generosity toward her parents and on
her handwriting and her ability to spell.
see my good mother~ez_rsquo~s care in your learning has not been thrown away on
you,~ez_rdquo~ he says.
sends the letter via the young master~ez_rsquo~s footman, John, who is traveling
in the direction of her parents~ez_rsquo~ home. Sometime later, she receives a letter
from her parents thanking her for the money but warning her never to compromise
her virtue for material gain.
hope the good ~ez_lsquo~squire has no design,~ez_rdquo~ they say, fearing that an ulterior
motive was behind his generosity.
writes back to say that their letter has planted suspicion in her heart,
but she assures them that ~ez_ldquo~I never will do any thing that shall bring your
grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.~ez_rdquo~ She also notes that the housekeeper,
Mrs. Jervis, treats her respectfully.
the the squire~ez_rsquo~s sister, Lady Davers, comes to Bedforshire to visit her
brother, she tells him it is improper for so pretty a girl as Pamela to
be living under the roof of a bachelor, Pamela reports in a second later.
Instead, Lady Davers says, Pamela should live with her. The squire agrees
to the arrangement.
the squire delays relocating Pamela. In the meantime, he gives her his
deceased mother~ez_rsquo~s fine silk clothes, as well as shifts, handkerchiefs,
and aprons. Pamela sends the clothes to her mother. A short while later,
Pamela tells her in another letter that the squire has given her more garments
and exquisite shoes. After Mrs. Andrews writes back to remind her daughter
to keep on her guard, Pamela replies that the squire has decided to keep
her at Bedfordshire, for he fears that the nephew of Lady Davers might
make advances toward her.
it is the squire who poses the threat. One day in the summer house of his
estate, he puts his arm around her without warning and kisses her. When
she protests strongly, he becomes very angry but then offers her gold to
keep the incident a secret. She refuses the money and later writes to her
parents about the incident and tells Mrs. Jervis about it. The housekeeper
sympathizes with her but says the squire probably won~ez_rsquo~t bother her again.
Pamela then moves into Mrs. Jervis~ez_rsquo~s room.
later, the squire angrily scolds Pamela after he learns that she has informed
her parents and Mrs. Jervis of his behavior. Now, he says, his reputation
is compromised. However, after calming down, he thrusts himself upon her,
kissing her and alluding to her as Lucretia~ez_ndash~an allusion with which Pamela
is familiar~ez_ndash~then fondles her. (According to ancient Roman legend, Lucretia
was a beautiful woman who refused to yield to the advances of Tarquin,
the lustful son of a king. So he took her by force. In his long poem The
Rape of Lucrece, Shakespeare presents a full accounting of this legend.
To read the summary of this poem, click here.)
When Pamela breaks away and runs to another room, he rips off a piece of
her dress. However, she closes and locks the door before he can continue
his pursuit. Then she faints. When she comes to, Mrs. Jervis is at her
side. Apparently, after she fainted, the squire looked through the keyhole,
saw her lying on the floor, summoned Mrs. Jervis, and broke open the door.
in front of Pamela and Mrs. Jervis, the squire attempts to downplay the
incident, claiming that Pamela exaggerated the details. When he asks Mrs.
Jervis for her opinion, she sympathizes with Pamela but is afraid to accuse
her master of wrongdoing. At this point, Pamela has made up her mind to
leave Bedfordshire and return home. However, she decides to remain at Bedfordshire
to complete a waistcoat she has been fashioning for the squire. Mrs. Jervis
assures her it will be safe to stay awhile. Besides, Pamela has worked
hard on the coat and observes in a letter to her parents, " I never did
a prettier piece of work; and I am up early and late to get it over; for
to be with you."
later, several of the squire's aristocratic neighbors visit his Bedfordshire
estate. Among them are Lady Arthur, Lady Brooks, Lady Towers, and a countess.
They compliment Pamela on her beauty, and Lady Towers adds, "I should never
care, if you were my servant, to have you and your master in the same house
together." Laughter, laden with innuendo, follows this remark.
day the squire proposes to give Pamela~ez_rsquo~s parents fifty guineas a year if
she pledges to marry the Rev. Arthur Williams, the squire~ez_rsquo~s chaplain at
Lincolnshire. (The proposal is, of course, a ploy to keep her within reach.)
When Pamela refuses the offer, he decrees that she may return home the
next morning and will order a carriage to await her. As she prepares to
leave, Mrs. Jervis gives her five guineas from the master.
after the carriage driver takes her five miles on the road toward her home,
he turns off and takes her to the squire~ez_rsquo~s Lincolnshire estate instead.
At this point in the story, the reader learns that John, the footman charged
with delivering Pamela's letters, has first diverted all of them to the
attention of the squire. The latter has read each of them and has held
back recent ones.
Lincolnshire, Pamela is a virtual prisoner under the watchful eye of the
housekeeper, Mrs. Jewkes. Not long after Pamela~ez_rsquo~s arrival, she meets the
Rev. Williams. He has an apartment at the Lincolnshire estate but resides
most of the time in a village three miles away, where he operates a Latin
school and sometimes preaches for the village minister at Sunday services.
He is sensible and sober, and he sympathizes with the deeply distressed
Pamela. However, there is little he can do to liberate her, for he depends
on the squire for his livelihood. When he talks with Mrs. Jewkes about
Pamela~ez_rsquo~s plight, she rebuffs him. She has the authority to ban him entirely
from the Lincolnshire estate if she so desires.
Jewkes follows Pamela everywhere, even when she goes for walks on the grounds
alone or with Williams. However, Pamela and the minister communicate in
secret via messages left between rocks in the flower garden. They devise
an escape plan that requires the help of others. In agreeing to assist
Pamela, Williams is taking a considerable risk, for he appears to be in
line for a ministerial promotion~ez_ndash~with a generous salary paid by the squire.
When he asks local citizens~ez_ndash~Lady Jones, Sir Simon Darnford, and Lady Darnford~ez_ndash~whether
they might lodge Pamela for a time if she escapes from the squire's estate,
they refuse to take part. When he asks another minister, Mr. Peters, the
same question, Peters tells Williams, "What! and embroil myself with a
man of Mr. B.'s power and fortune! No, not I, I'll assure you!~ez_ndash~"
because Squire B. seems to have eyes and ears everywhere (including those
of Sir Simon), he learns of Pamela's desire to escape with the assistance
of Williams. After accusing Williams of ~ez_ldquo~perfidious intrigue with that
girl . . . and acknowledged contrivances for her escape," he orders
his attorney, Mr. Shorter, to bring charges against the minister for failure
to pay an overdue debt. Williams ends up in jail.
tries to escape on her own by scaling the wall on the estate, but she falls
and suffers injuries to her shins and an ankle. Maids have to carry her
back to the house, where she is bedridden while recuperating.
though, in spite of the squire~ez_rsquo~s treatment of her, she cannot bring herself
to hate him. When she learns that he almost drowned while crossing a creek
during a hunting expedition, she writes in a letter to her parents, "When
I heard his danger, which was very great, I could not in my heart forbear
rejoicing for his safety; though his death would have ended my afflictions
. . . O what an angel would he be in my eyes yet, if he would cease his
attempts, and reform!"
day, while Pamela sits outside getting fresh air, Mrs. Jewkes and others
rush from the house and surround her, claiming she was about to escape.
Mrs. Jewkes raises a closed fist to strike her, but Monsieur Colbrand~ez_ndash~a
huge man hired to help keep watch on Pamela~ez_ndash~stops the cruel housekeeper,
saying it appeared that Pamela was merely resting without any inclination
to run off.
the squire arrives for a sojourn at the estate. When Mrs. Jewkes accuses
Pamela of attempting another escape, he sharply reprimands her as a troublemaker.
Then, what happened at Bedfordshire begins to repeat itself at Lincolnshire:
He makes advances toward her again and again, this time with Mrs. Jewkes
encouraging him. He also accuses her of attempting to beguile Mr. Williams,
a charge which she denies.
that he can get nowhere with her, the squire then offers her five hundred
guineas to do with what she wishes and proposes to give an estate in Kent~ez_ndash~along
with its considerable income~ez_ndash~to her parents. In addition, he promises to
extend his favors to any relatives she designates and offers her new clothes,
two diamond rings, a diamond necklace, and a pair of earrings. Lastly,
he proposes to put all of his servants at her command and assign two servants
to attend on her personally.
return for these favors, he says, she must agree to be his mistress. After
one year, he says, he will marry her. Pamela refuses everything. In particular,
she notes that becoming his mistress would turn her into a harlot. ~ez_ldquo~What,
sir, would the world say, were you to marry your harlot? That a gentleman
of your rank in life should stoop, not only to the base-born Pamela, but
to a base-born prostitute? Little, sir, as I know of the world, I am not
to be caught by a bait so poorly covered as this!"
the squire gives up and grants her wish to her return to her parents. On
her way home, accompanied by Monsieur Colbrand and the coach driver, Robin,
the travelers stop at an inn. There, Pamela sits down to eat just as a
messenger from the squire delivers a letter to her. In it, the squire says
he has read part of a journal she left behind and was touched to learn
that she was concerned for his safety when he almost drowned. Furthermore,
he says, he now knows how poorly Mrs. Jewkes treated her. He also admits
that he himself treated her badly. Then he declares that he truly loves
her and begs her to return to Lincolnshire. However, he says, he will understand
if she wishes to continue on to her home. Pamela also learns that the squire
returns to Lincolnshire, where she discovers that the squire is in bed
burning with a fever. The next morning, however, he is much improved, thanks
to his drinking generous quantities of sack whey to make him sweat out
the fever. Pamela and the squire are reconciled. It turns out that she
loves him as much as he loves her, and she agrees to marry him. Later,
the squire sees to the release of Mr. Williams and says that "if I have
no fresh reason given me, perhaps I shall not exact the payment [that he
owes the squire]."
and by, Pamela~ez_rsquo~s father arrives in response to letters from her. When he
sees that his daughter and her husband-to-be are happy and that Pamela
has never compromised her virtue, he approves of their relationship and
Squire B.~ez_rsquo~s sister, Lady Davers, strongly opposes a union of her brother
and Pamela on grounds that the latter is a mere servant. But the squire
ignores her. All is thus going well~ez_ndash~so well, in fact, that Mrs. Jewkes
has a change of heart and renounces her past cruelties to Pamela. Sometime
later, Pamela and the squire marry in a private ceremony in a chapel at
the Lincolnshire estate. Mr. Williams presides, Mr. Peters gives Pamela
away, and Mrs. Jewkes witnesses the ceremony.
day, Lady Davers~ez_ndash~unaware that Pamela and the squire are married~ez_ndash~tries to
come between the couple by revealing that her brother had an affair in
his youth with a young woman named Sally Godfrey. The squire then decides
to open the book on his past so that he and his new wife will have no secrets
between them. First, he tells Pamela about an incident in Padua, Italy,
in which he disarmed a thug hired by a wicked nobleman to kill a friend
of the squire. In Sienna, the squire dueled and wounded the nobleman, who
died a month later of a fever that the squire believes was brought on by
an illness, not the wound. His reason for telling Pamela about this episode,
he says, is that if she ever hears of it he does not want her to think
"that you are yoked with a murderer." Second, he tells Pamela about Miss
Godfrey. When he was in college, Miss Godfrey's mother attempted to "draw
me into marriage" with the girl, he says." I was not then of age; and the
young lady, not half so artful as her mother, yielded to my addresses before
the mother's plot could be ripened." He begs heaven's forgiveness for his
past misdeeds but says that in the future he will deserve divine wrath
if he ever wrongs Pamela.
accepts his answer but later muses, "I wonder what became of her [Sally
Godfrey]! Whether she be living? And whether any thing came of it?~ez_ndash~May
be I shall hear full soon enough!~ez_ndash~But I hope not to any bad purpose."
Lady Davers is informed that Pamela and her brother are married, she refuses
at first to believe that they are really husband and wife and accuses Pamela
of deceiving her by pretending that she is married. A bitter quarrel erupts
between the squire and his sister. However, in time Lady Davers comes to
accept Pamela, and the two women even begin to get along.
day the squire takes Pamela for a ride to a dairy farm famous in the region
for its fine breakfasts. When he asks the farmer's wife, Mrs. Dobson, whether
the governess from a nearby boarding school for girls still sends students
there as a reward for good performance, Mrs. Dobson says several from the
school are expected any moment. A few minutes later, the students arrive
with a maidservant and seat themselves in another room. Pamela goes in
and chats with the girls: Miss Booth, Miss Burdoff, Miss Nugent, and Miss
Goodwin. The squire enters and greets them. A short while later, the maid
takes them into the garden to show them the beehives. On their way out,
Miss Goodwin curtseys to the squire, and Pamela asks whether she knows
madam . . . .It is my own dear uncle."
she joins the others, the squire says Miss Goodwin is in fact the daughter
of the squire and Sally Godfrey, who now lives in Jamaica with her husband.
"Her mother chose that name for her because she should not be called by
her own," he says. Pamela goes outside to have a word with her.
writes in her diary, "I took her in my arms, and said, O my charming dear!
will you love me?~ez_ndash~Will you let me be your aunt? Yes, madam, answered
she, with all my heart! and I will love you dearly."
the squire says, "Well, Pamela, now can you allow me to love this little
you, sir . . . .You would be very barbarous, if you did not; and I should
be more so, if I did not further it all I could, and love the little lamb
myself, for your sake and for her own sake; and in compassion to her poor
mother, though unknown to me." Tears well in
couple settle in at Bedforshire, where Pamela helps her husband adjust
to virtuous living and he instructs her in the ways of society. The squire
has granted the Kent estate to Pamela's parents. The novel ends with the
end, at present, the letters of Pamela to her father and mother. They arrived
at their daughter's house on Tuesday evening in the following week, and
were received by her with the utmost joy and duty; and with great goodness
and complaisance by Mr. B~ez_ndash~. And having resided there till every thing
was put in order for them at the Kentish estate, they were carried down
thither by himself, and their daughter, and put into possession of the
pretty farm he had designed for them.Settings
The action takes place in
England in the first half of the 18th Century in the counties of Bedfordshire
and Lincolnshire. Bedford, the capital of Bedfordshire, is about forty-five
miles north of London. Lincoln, the capital of Lincolnshire, is about thirty
miles north of Bedford. Squire B. recounts incidents occurring during his
travels in Italy, Germany, and Austria; but all present action in the novel
takes place in England.
Pamela Andrews: Intelligent,
beautiful, and morally upright fifteen-year-old servant in the employ of
a wealthy squire who repeatedly attempts to seduce her but fails. Pamela
helps to support her impoverished parents.
Squire B.: Pamela's
master, relentless pursuer, and eventually husband. He treats Pamela as
one of his possessions. However, after she rebuffs his advances again and
again, he comes to respect and love her.
Lady B.: Mother of
Squire B. At the beginning of the novel, she dies, leaving her money and
estates to her son, Squire B. She treated Pamela well and even saw to her
John and Elizabeth Andrews:
Lady Davers: Sister
of Squire B. She strongly opposes a marriage between her brother and Pamela.
Lord Davers: Husband
of Lady Davers.
Mrs. Jervis: Housekeeper
at the squire's Bedfordshire estate. She befriends Pamela and sympathizes
with her in her struggle to maintain her virtue.
butler at the squire's Bedfordshire estate. He respects Pamela and comforts
her after overhearing a conversation in which the squire insults Pamela.
Mr. Longman: Steward
at the squire's Bedfordshire estate. Like Jonathan, he treats Pamela respectfully.
He provides her writing paper and pens.
Servants at the squire's Bedfordshire estate.
Jane, Hanna: Servants
at the squire's Bedfordshire estate.
at the squire's Bedfordshire estate.
John: The squire's
at the Bedfordshire estate.
Lady Arthur, Lady Brooks,
Lady Towers, Countess: Guests of the squire at his Bedfordshire estate.
They compliment Pamela on her remarkable beauty but also make innuendoes
about her living under the same roof as the squire.
Mrs. Jewkes: Housekeeper
at the squire's Lincolnshire estate. She treats Pamela cruelly while overseeing
her virtual imprisonment at Lincolnshire.
Robin: The squire's
Rev. Arthur Williams:
Young minister who operates a Latin school near the squire's Lincolnshire
estate. Although he depends on the squire for his livelihood, he tries
to help Pamela escape the clutches of the squire. When the squire learns
Mr. Williams abetted Pamela in her attempt to escape from Lincolnshire,
he brings charges against him that result in his imprisonment.
Lady Jones: Neighbor
whom Mr. Williams informs of Pamela's mistreatment by the squire at Lincolnshire.
She tells Mr. Williams that she sympathizes with Pamela's plight but will
not become involved in Williams's scheme to help Pamela escape.
Sir Simon Darnford and
Mrs. Darnford: Neighbors whom Mr. Williams informs of Pamela's mistreatment
by the squire at Lincolnshire. When Williams asks Mrs. Darnford to become
involved in the scheme to help Pamela escape, she says she must consult
with her husband, Sir Simon, who says, "If he [the squire] takes care she
[Pamela] wants for nothing, I don't see any great injury will be done her."
Sir Simon informs the squire of the escape plan.
Mr. Peters: Minister
acquainted with Mr. Williams. The latter tells him of Pamela's plight as
a virtual captive of the squire and asks him to lodge Pamela if she escapes.
He refuses to assist, however, for fear of arousing the wrath of the squire.
Later, however, he becomes a friend and admirer of Pamela and gives her
away at her wedding.
Mrs. Peters: Wife
of Mr. Peters. She says Pamela is a "worthy pattern for all the young ladies
in the county."
Nan, Mrs. Ann: Servants
at the squire's Lincolnshire estate.
Gigantic man who helps Mrs. Jewkes monitor the activities of Pamela. He
sides with Pamela when Mrs. Jewkes accuses her of attempting to escape.
Mr. Martin, Mr. Arthur,
Mr. Brooks, Mr.Chambers: Dinner guests at the Lincolnshire estate after
Pamela and the Squire are married. They raise a toast to the health and
happiness of the newlyweds.
Mr. Shorter: The
squire's attorney. He takes the legal measures necessary to jail Mr. Williams.
Sally Godfrey: Young
lady with whom the squire was intimate while he was in college.
Miss Goodwin: Illegitimate
child of the squire and Sally Godfrey. Miss Goodwin is a student at a boarding
Booth, Miss Burdoff, Miss Nugent: Fellow students of Miss Goodwin at
the boarding school.
Miss Dobson: Governess
at the boarding school.
Mr. Carlton: Dying
man whom the squire visits while Lady Davers berates Pamela after Pamela
and the squire are reconciled. Mr. Carlton's illness helps to bring out
the squire's compassion for fellow human beings.
Mrs. Worden: Servant
of Lady Davers.
and foul-mouthed nephew of Lady Davers. Upon becoming acquainted with Pamela,
he attempts to kiss her.
and footman of the squire.
Thomas: The squire's
groom (person who tends and feeds horses).
Guests at the Lincolnshire estate who compliment Pamela.
Mr. Perry: Guest
at the Lincolnshire estate who says Pamela is "the loveliest person I ever
Farmer Nichols's Wife
and Daughters: Persons from whom Pamela purchases material to make
a gown and two petticoats.
Farmer Norton, His Wife,
His Daughter: People with whom Pamela lodges on her way to Lincolnshire.
Farmer Jones: Man
who helps Pamela's father.
Various Other Acquaintances
of Pamela and the Squire
Work and Year of Publication
Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded
is an epistolary novel centering on the relationship between a beautiful
servant girl and her aristocratic master. An epistolary novel is one in
which a character (or characters) tells the story through letters (epistles)
sent to a friend, relative, etc., and/or through journal entries. Samuel
Richardson began writing Pamela in 1739 and completed and published
it in 1740.
Richardson based the novel
on an account of real-life events in which a serving maid resists the amorous
advances of her employer.
Fifteen-year-old Pamela Andrews,
the protagonist, tells the story in first-person point of view in (1) letters
she writes to her parents and other characters and (2) in a journal in
which she reports daily happenings as well as the contents of letters written
to her. An omniscient narrator intrudes briefly to inform the reader of
events outside the scope of Pamela~ez_rsquo~s purview. The author presents the chapters
in the form of letters or journal entries. The rising action and development
of the conflict take place at Squire B.'s Bedfordshire estate. The conflict
intensifies after Pamela is taken against her will to the squire's Lincolnshire
estate. The conflict reaches its climax when Pamela is at an inn between
Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire and receives a letter in which the squire
declares his love for her. The long denouement of the story takes place
mainly at the Lincolnshire estate after Pamela returns to the squire. The
story concludes when the newlyweds return to the Bedfordshire estate. After
the conclusion, the author presents observations intended to instruct the
and Disadvantages of Epistolary Writing
In Pamela, the central
character reveals in her journal and letters the intimate details of her
everyday life in language that is simple, straightforward, and conversational.
This approach makes the novel easy to read and understand. Moreover, it
creates a closeness with the reader, as if he or she were the recipient
of the letters or the reader of the journal. There are obvious drawbacks
to epistolary narration, however. As in other first-person accounts, the
narrator cannot enter the minds of other characters (as in third-person
omniscient narration). In addition, the narrator must be present for all
the action or report it in accounts she receives secondhand. Finally, since
the narrator writer her letters or journal entries after an event, the
storytelling loses at least some of its air of immediacy. Nevertheless,
Richardson's approach was popular with readers, and the novel sold out
climax occurs when the squire declares his love for Pamela in the letter
he sends her after she leaves his Lincolnshire estate. A minor, or secondary,
climax occurs when the squire's sister, Lady Davers, overcomes her upper-class
pride and prejudice and accepts Pamela as her sister-in-law.
Love: Romantic, Familial,
Brotherly, and False
The novel is of course a
love story, and Pamela is the fulcrum on which the story turns. One day,
the story centers on familial love, which Pamela exchanges with her parents;
the next day, on false love, or lust, which the squire attempts to inflict
on Pamela; another day, on brotherly love, which Pamela exchanges with
Mrs. Jervis and other coworkers; and on another day, true romantic love,
which Pamela exchanges with the squire. Love conquers the cruel heart of
Mrs. Jewkes and the proud heart of Lady Davers. It softens the heart of
a fearsome giant, Monsieur Colbrand. It causes the squire to free the Rev.
Arthur Williams from jail. It enables the squire to renounce his past wrongs.
And, finally, it enables Pamela to embrace the squire's illegitimate daughter.
Preservation of Virtue
In the face of the squire's
attempts to seduce her, Pamela never once gives in to him. She turns down
his offers of great sums of money, servants at her beck and call, and other
favors in order to preserve her virtue. Although she discovers after a
time that she loves him, she refuses to bed with him outside of marriage.
Class and Gender Distinctions,
In protecting herself from
the clutches of her male employer, Pamela is at a considerable disadvantage.
The European culture of the 1700s gave every advantage to males, especially
upper-class males. Pamela, of course, is a lower-class female servant.
A pretty servant girl was easy prey for a wealthy master who took a fancy
to her, for he could use his money and power to entice her or sexually
harass her. After the squire begins treating Pamela as a young woman instead
of a sexual object, he declares his love for her. However, his sister,
Lady Davers, strongly opposes his relationship with Pamela on grounds that
she is a mere servant from a lower-class family. Only after a long and
painful struggle does she come to accept Pamela.
Use and Misuse of Money
and Material Possessions
At first, the squire attempts
to buy Pamela's favors with money and clothes. When these attempts fail,
he offers her more money, more clothes, jewels, and an estate for her father
and mother. But Pamela is not for sale at any price. The squire uses money
in the same way with others. For example, he controls and manipulates the
Rev. Arthur Williams through the money he pays him. Then he jails the minister
after he is unable to pay a debt. Pamela, on the other hand, gives large
portions of the money she earns to her impoverished parents. Her generosity~ez_ndash~and
her rebuffs of his attempts to buy her~ez_ndash~set
an example for him that he eventually follows. After marrying Pamela, he
freely shares his bounty, telling his wife, "Give her [Mrs. Jewkes], then
. . .twenty guineas, as a compliment on your nuptials. Give Colbrand ten
guineas: the two coachmen five guineas each; to the two maids at this house
five guineas each; give Abraham five guineas; give Thomas five guineas;
and give the gardeners, grooms, and helpers, twenty guineas among them."
At the end of the novel,
the author presents observations intended to instruct the reader. Each
of the observations focuses on a theme in the novel. Following are the
The reader will
here indulge us in a few brief observations, which naturally result from
the story and characters; and which will serve as so many applications
of its most material incidents to the minds of YOUTH of BOTH SEXES.
First, then, in the character
of the GENTLEMAN, may be seen that of a fashionable libertine, who allowed
himself in the free indulgence of his passions, especially to the fair
sex; and found himself supported in his daring attempts, by an affluent
fortune in possession, a personal bravery, as it is called, readier to
give than take offence, and an imperious will: yet as he betimes sees his
errors, and reforms in the bloom of youth, an edifying lesson may be drawn
from it, for the use of such as are born to large fortunes; and who may
be taught, by his example, the inexpressible difference between the hazards
and remorse which attend a profligate course of life, and the pleasures
which flow from virtuous love, and benevolent actions.
In the character of Lady
DAVERS, let the proud, and the high-born, see the deformity of unreasonable
passion, and how weak and ridiculous such persons must appear, who suffer
themselves, as is usually the case, to be hurried from the height of violence,
to the most abject submission; and subject themselves to be outdone by
the humble virtue they so much despise.
Let good CLERGYMEN, in Mr.
WILLIAMS, see, that whatever displeasure the doing of their duty may give,
for a time, to their proud patrons, Providence will, at last, reward their
piety, and turn their distresses to triumph; and make them even more valued
for a conduct that gave offence while the violence of passion lasted, than
if they had meanly stooped to flatter or soothe the vices of the great.
In the examples of good old
ANDREWS and his WIFE, let those, who are reduced to a low estate, see,
that Providence never fails to reward their honesty and integrity: and
that God will, in his own good time, extricate them, by means unforeseen,
out of their present difficulties, and reward them with benefits unhoped
The UPPER SERVANTS of great
families may, from the odious character of Mrs. JEWKES, and the amiable
ones of Mrs. JERVIS, Mr. LONGMAN, etc. learn what to avoid, and what to
choose, to make themselves valued and esteemed by all who know them.
And, from the double conduct
of poor JOHN, the LOWER SERVANTS may learn fidelity, and how to distinguish
between the lawful and unlawful commands of a superior.
The poor deluded female,
who, like the once unhappy Miss GODFREY, has given up her honour, and yielded
to the allurements of her designing lover, may learn from her story, to
stop at the first fault; and, by resolving to repent and amend, see the
pardon and blessing which await her penitence, and a kind Providence ready
to extend the arms of its mercy to receive and reward her returning duty:
While the prostitute, pursuing the wicked courses, into which, perhaps,
she was at first inadvertently drawn, hurries herself into filthy diseases,
and an untimely death; and, too probably, into everlasting perdition.
Let the desponding heart
be comforted by the happy issue which the troubles and trials of PAMELA
met with, when they see, in her case, that no danger nor distress, however
inevitable, or deep to their apprehensions, can be out of the power of
Providence to obviate or relieve; and which, as in various instances in
her story, can turn the most seemingly grievous things to its own glory,
and the reward of suffering innocence; and that too, at a time when all
human prospects seem to fail.
Let the rich, and those who
are exalted from a low to a high estate, learn from her, that they are
not promoted only for a single good; but that Providence has raised them,
that they should dispense to all within their reach, the blessings it has
heaped upon them; and that the greater the power is to which God hath raised
them, the greater is the good that will be expected from them.
From the low opinion she
every where shews of herself, and her attributing all her excellencies
to pious education, and her lady's virtuous instructions and bounty; let
persons, even of genius and piety, learn not to arrogate to themselves
those gifts and graces, which they owe least of all to themselves: Since
the beauties of person are frail; and it is not in our power to give them
to ourselves, or to be either prudent, wise, or good, without the assistance
of divine grace.
From the same good example,
let children see what a blessing awaits their duty to their parents, though
ever so low in the world; and that the only disgrace, is to be dishonest;
but none at all to be poor.
From the economy she purposes
to observe in her elevation, let even ladies of condition learn, that there
are family employments, in which they may and ought to make themselves
useful, and give good examples to their inferiors, as well as equals: and
that their duty to God, charity to the poor and sick, and the different
branches of household management, ought to take up the most considerable
portions of their time.
From her signal veracity,
which she never forfeited, in all the hardships she was tried with, though
her answers, as she had reason to apprehend, would often make against her;
and the innocence she preserved throughout all her stratagems and contrivances
to save herself from violation: Persons, even sorely tempted, may learn
to preserve a sacred regard to truth; which always begets a reverence for
them, even in the corruptest minds.
Her obliging behaviour to
her equals, before her exaltation; her kindness to them afterwards; her
forgiving spirit, and her generosity;
Her meekness, in every circumstance
where her virtue was not concerned;
Her charitable allowances
for others, as in the case of Miss Godfrey, for faults she would not have
forgiven in herself;
Her kindness and prudence
to the offspring of that melancholy adventure;
Her maiden and bridal purity,
which extended as well to her thoughts as to her words and actions;
Her signal affiance in God;
Her thankful spirit;
Her grateful heart;
Her diffusive charity to
the poor, which made her blessed by them whenever she appeared abroad;
The cheerful ease and freedom
of her deportment;
Her parental, conjugal,
and maternal duty;
Her social virtues;
Are all so many signal instances
of the excellency of her mind, which may make her character worthy of the
imitation of her sex. And the Editor of these sheets will have his
end, if it inspires a laudable emulation in the minds of any worthy persons,
who may thereby entitle themselves to the rewards, the praises, and the
blessings, by which PAMELA was so deservedly distinguished.
Study Questions and Essay
1. In her letters and journal
entries, Pamela often reports the compliments others give her. For example,
in Letter IV (to her mother) she ....writes
that Lady Davers "thought me the prettiest wench she ever saw in her life."
Later in the novel, she reports that Sir Simon ....Darnford
"swore he never saw so easy an air, so fine a shape, and so graceful a
presence" as Pamela's and that he referred to her as ...."the
loveliest maiden in England." Do Pamela's frequent references to such compliments
indicate that she is vain? Explain your ....answer.
2. Does Pamela distort in
any way the events she reports in her letters and journal entries? Explain
3. In an informative essay,
write a psychological profile of Pamela, the squire, or Lady Davers.
4. How commonplace was sexual
harassment of young women in England in the mid-1700s?
5. In the following statement,
the squire describes the typical upbringing of a male or female born into
a life of wealth and privilege. Read ....the
statement, then write an essay arguing that the squire's observations still
apply today in some families.
people of fortune, or such as are born to large expectations, of both sexes,
are generally educated wrong. You have occasionally touched upon this,
Pamela, several times in your journal, so justly, that I need say the less
to you. We are usually so headstrong, so violent in our wills, that we
very little bear control.
by our nurses, through the faults of our parents, we practise first upon
them; and shew the gratitude of our dispositions, in an insolence that
ought rather to be checked and restrained, than encouraged.
we are to be indulged in every thing at school; and our masters and mistresses
are rewarded with further grateful instances of our boisterous behaviour.
in our wise parents' eyes, all looks well, all is forgiven and excused;
and for no other reason, but because we are theirs.
Our next progression is,
we exercise our spirits, when brought home, to the torment and regret of
our parents themselves, and torture their hearts by our undutiful and perverse
behaviour to them, which, however ungrateful in us, is but the natural
consequence of their culpable indulgence to us, from infancy upwards.
then, next, after we have, perhaps, half broken their hearts, a wife is
looked out for: convenience, or birth, or fortune, are the first
motives, affection the last
(if it is at all consulted): and two people thus educated, thus trained
up, in a course of unnatural ingratitude, and
who have been headstrong
torments to every one who has had a share in their education, as well as
to those to whom they owe their being, are brought together; and what can
be expected, but that they should pursue, and carry on, the same comfortable
conduct in matrimony, and join most heartily to plague one another? And,
in some measure, indeed, this is right; because hereby they revenge the
cause of all those who have been aggrieved and insulted by them, upon one