Back from vacation recap! Pamela is totally really actually leaving her Master’s employment to go back home to her family, which will totally really actually happen even though her Master keeps delaying it. And that’s it. Huh. I guess this novel could really be a lot shorter. [Ariel says: Pamela seems to have more words than House of Night but the same amount of plot.] [Matthew says: I’m not sure if most of what’s in House of Night counts as “words”, because it would imply they convey meaning.]
Pamela begins another letter by saying she stopped the last letter because someone was coming, because apparently it is impossible to just pause for a moment. [Ariel says: Pamela pauses more to write letters than I do to check my phone. Seriously, people say technology is the problem, but it’s the people! Just look at this historical evidence.]
I was forced to break off: for I feared my master was coming: but it proved to be only Mrs. Jervis.
Imagine how confusing that would have been if she just continued the previous letter and we didn’t know she had stopped writing it for a few minutes. Mrs. Jervis has updates about what a whiny buttface the Master is being because Pamela won’t put out:
Indeed, Pamela, he is very angry with you too; and calls you twenty perverse things
Feel free to come up with exactly twenty perverse things he could have called Pamela in the comments. JUST TWENTY.
We’ve talked a little bit about how one of the major themes of the (five hundred page…) novel is that Pamela and the Master are of different classes, and this makes any possible romance between them impossible. Although Pamela makes another, genuinely good point:
Yet, if I was the lady of birth […] I don’t know whether I would have him: For she that can bear an insult of that kind, I should think not worthy to be a gentleman’s wife
Don’t worry! This proto-feminist thought goes away really quickly and we continue to spend the bulk of the 500 pages talking about class difference anyway, rather than how the Master is really kind of a douche.
Speaking of the Master being kind of a douche, that’s basically all that happens while the novel is in “Pamela is totally really actually going back to her parents’ home” limbo:
Work [on the waistcoat]! said he; You mind your pen more than your needle; I don’t want such idle sluts to stay in my house.
Mrs. Jervis comments that “This love [of the Master’s] is the devil!” and muses “how many strange shapes does [love] make people show themselves! And in some the farthest from their hearts.” Which is really weird, because 1) it’s kind of a good point, but you’d think that now having recognized that love changes people, it would maybe use this to maybe eventually develop the Master to a not shitty person, and 2) not even Fifty Shades makes this observation. Book published in 1740 identifying that love can make people act terribly? Yes. 2012 bestseller Fifty Shades identifying that love can make people act terribly?
[Ariel says: Even more shocking? The Crossfire series actually addresses this the most. Actually, it addresses this too much. They’re constantly talking about how their love is all consuming and makes them to crazy things (like murdering evil step brothers!)] [Matthew adds: The difference is that Crossfire maintains that this isn’t a problem.]
Pamela also mentions that she ran out of paper, but one of the Master’s servants, Mr. Longman, gave Pamela more paper. Thanks, Mr. Longman. You shouldn’t have.
The Master has a fancy dinner party, and his upper-crust guests all discuss word on the street that the Master (whom we also learned is actually named Mr. B—-, which is… not actually helpful) has a servant-maid who is “the greatest beauty in the county”. They go around the house searching for Pamela, who apparently must record this as it is happening.
I believe they are coming; and will tell you the rest by and by. I wish they had come, and were gone. Why can’t they make their game without me?
Well, these fine ladies have been here, and are gone back again.
It’s like live-tweeting, but really boring. [Ariel says: This is why there’s no movement to go back to live-letter-writing.] They eventually find Pamela, and one of the ladies suggests that Pamela is so pretty she would never let her and her master be in the same house together. Pamela quips that “it seems [this Lady] is called a wit”, which is actually a pretty decent burn for someone who just live-tweeted hiding in a closet.
Pamela tries on some new, lower-class clothing for when she returns to her parents. She shows Mrs. Jervis, which backfires when the Master walks in on them and pretends to not know who Pamela is! What a wacky misunderstanding! Mrs. Jervis, however, continues to challenge Beautiful Disaster‘s America for the title of “worst best friend”.
She smiled, and asked, If his honor did not know who it was?
No, said he, I never saw her before. Farmer Nichols, or Farmer Brady, have neither of them such a tight prim lass for a daughter […]
If your honor won’t be angry, said she, I will introduce her into your presence; for I think, says she, she outdoes our Pamela.
The Master and Mrs. Jervis laugh about playing dumb, and the Master is all “lol you’re so pretty I must kiss you” and Pamela is all “MRS. JERVIS WTF” and Mrs. Jervis is all “LOL IDK”. You know, basically. It eventually results in another conversation where the Master and Pamela argue over her future, and the Master is all “Why don’t you want to wait on me or my sister?” and Pamela is all “You’re a jerk and I want to go home” and the Master is all “Whaaaa!” You know, basically.
Pamela gets a letter from Mr. Jonathan that the Master was overheard telling Mrs. Jervis, “by G-d I will have her!” and warns her to “Burn this instantly”. Naturally, Pamela copies the letter verbatim, because logic.
You may be thinking, “Hey, Matthew, I was promised the 18th century Fifty Shades! When’s some really weird shit going to happen in Pamela?” How about the Master hiding in Pamela’s closet?
Strange things I have to tell you, that happened last night […] but I will not keep you in suspense.
Which is Pamela-talk for “get ready for a really fucking long letter”. [Ariel asks: Is she still writing these letters to her parents?] [Matthew adds: Yep. It’s a good thing they’re poor and don’t have day jobs, because they get absolute fucktons of mail.]
Pamela and Mrs. Jervis go to Mrs. Jervis’s room for the night and get into bed and begin to undress (which was not weird at the time because lesbians obviously hadn’t been invented yet). Mrs. Jervis doesn’t get why Pamela is mad at her for helping a guy sexually assault her. What nerve!
Pamela, I don’t wonder he loves you […] I believe truly, you owe some of your danger to the lovely appearance you made.
Good thing we’ve made so much progress since 1740 that nobody ever says “She was asking for it!” anymore!
Pamela hears a rustling in the closet, but Mrs. Jervis says she’s just hearing things. She soon hears more noise and goes to check:
O dreadful! out rushed my master in a rich silk and silver morning gown.
I really wouldn’t have understood the horror of this moment if I hadn’t known the material of what he was wearing.
The Master tells Mrs. Jervis to go keep the rest of the staff from rushing to the room after all the noise, but she refuses, throwing herself around Pamela, insisting he will not hurt her, and that “I will lose my life in her defense”. The Master’s next move is to feel up Pamela, because Richardson seriously only has that one move.
I found his hand in my bosom […] I sighed and screamed, and fainted away.
Fun Fact: Startled women faint a lot! Science! The Master has left when Pamela comes to. Three. Hours. Later. That is a long time to be unconscious from shock. Like, “Pamela should probably go to a hospital”-long. Science!