The Master Is In Love, Probably Delusional: Pamela Part 4

Posted on June 3, 2014 by


Previously, Pamela’s Master tried to make Pamela fall in love with him by hiding in her closet when she was getting ready for bed. Maybe this was more likely to work in the 18th century, I dunno. [Ariel says: It’s certainly not a tactic we’ve seen in any of the other books we’ve blogged about. Gideon and Christian just own all the buildings in their city and show up to their night club or restaurant when they find out their love interest is there. They should have tried the old hide-in-the-closet first!]

Letter XXVI

Today in “Pamela continues to be an efficient letter-writer”:

My wicked master went out early to hunt; but left word he would be into breakfast. And so he was.

scott pilgrim is bored

“Hey, I got your letter. The one where you walked me through someone else’s itinerary. I… I don’t know why I had to read that.”

It’s been a little awkward since the Master tried hiding in the closet to make Pamela fall in love with him somehow, and now even Mrs. Jervis is pissed off and demands to leave the the Master’s employment with Pamela!

“I never could have thought that the son of my dear good lady departed, could have so forfeited his honour, as to endeavor to destroy a virtue he ought to protect.”

Wow! That escalated quickly, given how her last stance on the Pamela/Master matter was, “It’d be pretty funny if they kissed IDK“. [Ariel says: She’s just like America from The Disaster series. One second America would watch Travis drag Abby from a party against her will like, “LOL you two,” and the next second she’d be slapping Travis and telling him what a bastard he was. No consistency whatsoever.]  

The Master continues to act like everyone is making shit up about things he blatantly does in front of them, and laughs at Mrs. Jervis for being angry at him “for imaginary faults”. He then asks Pamela to show him where he grabbed her during the bedroom scene yesterday and bruised her arm. Yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention that. It’s almost like this book is so fluffed up with the same content again and again that I don’t know what things are going to be important.

said he: Pull your apron away; and let me see how you look, after your freedom of speech of me last night. […]
I could not stand this barbarous insult [and] went up stairs to my chamber, and wrote all this

Why do we need to know that? You don’t need to tell us that you wrote it. We sort of just inferred that you wrote it. Because we read it. [Ariel says: I love how Pamela was so angry she had to go write a letter about it.] 


Pamela writes of another series of confrontations the Master has with her re: why she won’t sleep with him already. For a romance novel celebrated by academia, the male lead isn’t so much “romantic” as he is “kind of a neckbeard”. Remember that time in the preface where the author said that Pamela was to “entertain, and at the same time to instruct, and improve the minds of the youth of both sexes”? “Both” seems to be a little generous. For instance:

He took my hand, in a kind of good-humoroured mockery, and said, Well, urged, my pretty preacher! When my Lincolnshire chaplain dies, I’ll put thee on a gown and cassock, and thou’lt make a good figure in his place.


I am thinking it would be a pity, with these fair soft hands […] that you should return again to hard work […] so I would advise [you] to take to a house in London, and let lodgings to us members of parliament [and] get a great deal of money.

easy a high-end stripperAaaaaand:

“Permit me to say, that if you was not rich and great, and I poor and little, you would not insult me thus” […]
“Why so serious, my pretty Pamela?” said he

Yeah, Pamela? Why so serious when a man mocks you for not wanting to sleep with him and suggests you become a prostitute instead? Are you taking notes, men? There’s some pretty good instruction in here! Is your mind improved yet?

What a world we live in! For it is grown more a wonder that the men are resisted, than that the women comply.

Maybe the most perplexing thing about Pamela is that it has these actual, good proto-feminist points buried in hundreds of pages of “if a woman says ‘no’, just bother her for a really, really long time”. And that that’s still more than what Fifty Shades of Grey does somehow.

The Master has a friend over, tells him, “No, really! This bitch is soooo rude! Like so rude!” (to paraphrase), and encourages Pamela to say the mean things she says to him in front of his friend, so he can show his friend how mean she is to him. I am skeptical that logic even made sense in the 1700s.

Letters XXIX-XXXI(-ish)

Pamela takes a break from describing the terrible man we all know she’s going to fall in love with anyway to remind us how selfless she is, because it’s not enough for this novel to be the 18th century Fifty Shades of Grey, apparently it has to be the 18th century Stephanie Meyer novel too. She writes that “I shall think nothing too mean that is honest”, that “Bread and water I can live upon […] with content”, and about how she refuses to take anything given to her by her late lady.

But she does also make some good critiques about immobility in the 18th century class system that remain interesting to a modern reader. See? I can be fair!

My good lady, now in heaven, loved singing and dancing; and, as she would have it, I had a voice, she made me learn both […] and to work fine work with my needle. […] Well now, what is all this to the purpose, as things have turned about?

Although she of course has to do so with her usual asides about who happens to be doing what while she’s writing the letter, because there’d be zero verisimilitude if she didn’t record every time she put her pen down for a second:

I must break off; here’s somebody coming. ‘Tis only our Hannah with a message from Mrs. Jervis – But, hold, here’s somebody else. Well, it is only Rachel.



[Ariel says: I need to start writing emails like this to people. “I must pause this email writing because someone is coming. Tis only my boyfriend bringing me coffee. ONE MORE SEC. Well, it is only Bob.”] 

The day before Pamela is totally really actually leave for home, the Master makes one last attempt to get her to bang him stay. “In a kinder manner than ever I had known” he asks to have a “serious talk” with Pamela:

You have too much wit and good sense not to discover, that I, in spite of my heart, and all the pride of it, cannot but love you.

Although I guess most 18th century romance novels are the 18th century "Call Me Maybe", if we're being fair.

Although I guess most 18th century romance novels are the 18th century “Call Me Maybe”, if we’re being fair.

The Master reveals that he’s been intercepting Pamela’s letters, and fell in love with her as he found her “charming” (that’s nice!) and “so much above your years”, (aw, that’s also nice!), “and [above] your sex” (…well, it was the 1700s). Pamela is speechless, which works out nicely, because the Master hasn’t made everything even worse somehow yet. What’s his plan?

  1. Have Pamela stay another week
  2. Give her poor parents money to raise them from the lower class
  3. Arrange a marriage between Pamela and… his chaplain?
  4. Also keep macking on Pamela somehow

Wow, that unraveled remarkably quickly.

I shall think I don’t answer the care of my dying mother for you […] if I don’t provide you a husband to protect your virtue […] Young Mr. Williams, my chaplain, in Lincolnshire, who will make you happy.
Does he know, sir, said I, any thing of your honour’s intentions?
No, my girl, said he, and kissed me, (much against my will)

…is anyone learning anything yet?

Posted in: Pamela