So how are people finding the comparative worlds of Entwined With You and Pamela so far? Which is grosser?
In case you weren’t sure what’s up, Pamela starts off her letter like so:
Well, I will now proceed with my sad story.
And then immediately talks about clothes. Good job focusing your efforts on the saddest part of the story.
being pretty well dressed, I might come to some harm [when I leave for home], almost as bad as what I would run away from; and [it may be] reported I have stolen something
Which is kind of an interesting, old-timey problem, actually. Pamela works in an upper class house and all her clothes are upper class, which she can’t very well wear when she goes back to her lower class home. [Ariel says: Goodness me, no!] We talked about this for like 15 minutes in the college class I read this book in, guys. It is clearly incredibly important to know about these things. [Ariel says: This is why I really really don’t miss being an English major. Why didn’t I do computer science, for realz.]
Mrs. Jervis tells Pamela that the Master had complained to her that, “That girl is always scribbling; methinks she might find something else to do, or to that purpose.” and talks about her suspicions that she stole the letter that went missing. No attention, however, is paid to the fact that, yeah, Pamela probably is writing suspiciously and/or impossibly often. And always about the same thing again and again. [Ariel says: I know I often pause what I’m doing to frantically type a facebook message to my mother and father about being scandalised or not having the right clothes in a given situation. And you thought we were in the age of over-sharing, ha! Just look at Pamela.]
Case in point, Pamela’s dad writes to her again about her honor and virtue and resisting her Master’s advances. We get it, dad. [Ariel says: It’s like the equivalent of the Casts telling us Damien is gay. Overkill already, Jeez.]
In letter XIV, Pamela writes another conversation Mrs. Jervis had with their Master.
The Master complains that Pamela “has Vanity and Conceit, and Pride”, because most of the Master’s character is basically him complaining that a woman he wants to bone doesn’t want to bone him.
as light as he makes of the words virtue and innocence in me, [I deserve his insult less than if] my crime should have been my virtue with him; naughty gentleman as he is!
I will soon write again; but must now end with saying, that I am, and shall always be,
Your honest Daughter
And then the next letter starts like this:
I broke off abruptly my last letter; for I feared he was coming.
Wait, what. Why? You were afraid he was coming, so your response was to quickly finish writing that letter? Why not just hide the letter right away and then keep writing it?
The Master says he wants to talk to Pamela, which gets her a little flustered.
Good sirs, how my heart went pit-a-pat!
…or that. The Master expresses disappointment that Pamela has spoken of what happened in the Summer House to other people, because it jeopardizes his reputation. Sounds like a bad problem for him.
And so I am to be exposed, am I, said he, in my house, and out of my house, to the whole world, by such a sawcebox as you?
More importantly, can we bring back the word “sawcebox”? [Ariel says: That was literally the first thing I thought when I read that word. I want to be called a sawcebox!]
Pray, sir, said I, of whom can a poor girl take advice, if it must not be of her father and mother[?]
Insolence! said he, and stamped with his foot, am I to be questioned thus by such a one as you?
I would make some snarky joke about how this would never happen nowadays in our more gender-equal society and then link to a scene where this exact thing happens in Fifty Shades, but that was literally all three books of Fifty Shades.
And saying so, he offered to take me on his knee, with some force.
Same thing. [Ariel says: I don’t even know what book we’re reading anymore. It’s like I’m in some sort of misogynistic nightmare where all these scenes blur together and then…oh no…fucking blurred lines begins playing in the background. IMMA TAKE A GOOD GIRL.]
The master then “put his hand in my bosom” and Pamela runs away. This might seem shocking for a book published in 1740, but this exact same scene keeps happening, and it quickly becomes apparent that the Master copping a feel is the only card Samuel Richardson knows how to play. I guess there were very few ways to objectify women in the 18th century? Better write 500 pages of the only example you can think of! That will never grow tiresome. [Ariel says: Yeah! I want some hilarious 18th century terms for vagina to be thrown around! This is a real disappointment, and I say that as someone who has watched the How I Met Your Mother series finale.] [Matthew adds: Sorry, buddy! This is purely second base erotica! Just bosoms again and again and again, just in case you haven’t figured out the Master is interested in Pamela yet.]
The book mixes it up from the Master talking about how much Pamela sucks for not wanting to bone him to the Master talking about how much Pamela sucks for not wanting to bone him and so, fine, he’ll let her go home to her family. Her father writes back to Pamela about how excited he is to hear the news that she’s leaving that awful place and returning to her loving family:
Welcome, welcome, ten times welcome shall you be to us; for you came to us innocent
Provided, of course, she’s still a virgin. [Ariel says: I guess they can use 18th century science to suss out whether or not a woman is a virgin. Makes sense.]
Other people also react rather perplexingly to the news. So you guys remember Abby’s best friend, America, from Beautiful Disaster [Ariel says: I wish I didn’t], who was the worst best friend ever and always framed every problem ever in terms of how it affected her? Ready to meet the 18th century version of that?
Well, well, Pamela, I did not think I had shewn so little love to you, as that you should express so much joy upon leaving me.
Pamela offers (another, near-identical, ye-olde-cut-and-pasted) explanation that she can’t continue to live with someone who is constantly sexually assaulting her. Eventually, Mrs. Jervis decides that it’s not all about her, and Pamela is happy they managed to patch up their friendship:
I will always love and honour you, as my third-best friend
What? Um, okay, fuck you too, Pamela. [Ariel says: Since when does Pamela have three friends?]
Although her Master is still – you guessed it – angry!
I believe my master is fearfully angry with me; for he passed by me two or three times, and would not speak to me; and towards evening [he] said such a word to me as I never heard in my life from him to man, woman or child
I like how, when you stop to think about it, this character is really just a dude who got turned down by a woman and now he keeps pouting about it and saying the occasional mean thing to her. This is in the canon! [Ariel says: At least he isn’t going around telling us what a nice guy he is and then expecting that to get him laid. Or maybe he does do the 18th century equivalent? IDK.]
I hope I shan’t be long in your honor’s way. D-mn you! said he, (that was the hard word)
Oh, phew, good thing Pamela told us which one was the really bad word. I would have maybe guessed it was the one that was so bad it couldn’t be printed, but I just wasn’t sure.
Pamela writes that her Master wants her to stay until she finishes sewing his new waistcoat, and that she really doesn’t get what the master’s deal is. She writes out an entire conversation (which fills three pages and she remembers word-for-word somehow… this only gets more ridiculous as the book goes on) she had with Mrs. Jervis about how their Master is admired by half a dozen ladies, and yet keeps going after his servant. Pamela explains how wrong his unwanted advances are.
It would be very presumptuous in me to rely upon my own strength against a gentlemen of his qualifications and estate
Predictable trouble is afoot, as Pamela writes a new letter explaining that she hasn’t mailed her other letters yet because the family friend she’s using as a secret messenger has been sent by her Master to a different household. Bum bum bummmm
Oh wait, Pamela also talks about clothes for a bit. Otherwise, bum bum bummmmm