I was reading on my Kindle and accidentally read two weeks’ worth of Pamela. It was terrible.
After the failure of his plot to rape Pamela after sneaking her into bed wearing women’s clothing (still, what???) [Ariel says: It’s only just occurred to me that this scene is basically the equivalent of Little Red Riding Hood except in this case it would be, “My what big…penis you have?!].
The Master begins acting much nicer towards Pamela. Too nice.
now he seems to abound with kindness, and talk of love without reserve, and makes nothing of […] kissing me, which he calls innocent
This is sort of like how Travis and Abby were platonically cuddling in the same bed in Beautiful Disaster. Except, you know, the tamer 18th century version of that. Pretend this is basically on that level, then you’ll be all, “Sayeth whaaat?” And, hey, wouldn’t you know, Pamela even made a deal with the Master that she had to do this for a set amount of time! These books are all interchangeable, even centuries apart.
I don’t like this fortnight; and it will be a tedious and a dangerous one to me
I notice you use the word “tedious”.
The Master has Pamela go on a walk through the garden with him and continues his unwarranted advances, putting his arm around her waist, kissing her, and… making her sit on his knee. His behavior reminds Pamela of a conversation she overheard between the Master and Mrs. Jewkes, which was apparently the only thing in the history of time she hasn’t written in her letters.
“She is a charming girl, and may be thawed by kindness; and I should have melted her by love, instead of freezing her by fear.”
Honestly, the most shocking part of this is that “freeze her by fear” into falling in love was a legitimate option to this guy at some point.
Pamela is suspicious of the Master’s sudden kindness because of this (not because of, say, the kidnapping, the sexual assault, etc.), and rebukes his advances. The Master has still not picked up on how Pamela’s not really interested. So basically we’re at the “but I’m Christian Grey” part of the novel.
“Do you know,” said he, “whom you talk to, and where you are?” […]
He put his arm round me, and his other hand on my neck […]
“You are Lucifer himself, in the shape of my Master, or you could not use me thus.”
“These are too great liberties,” said he, in anger.
They then spend a couple pages arguing about who should apologize to whom, because this is a really tricky one.
That night, Pamela is eating dinner with Mrs. Jewkes when suddenly the Master bursts in (you may recall that they cannot dine together because they are of different social class – because that’s literally the whole book). [Ariel says: But it’s totally cool if he dresses up in women’s clothing and sneaks into her bed. BLURRED LIIIINES.]
“Sit still, sit still, and let me see how you eat your victuals,”
Okay, it’s no “put the chicken in the fridge“, but-
“Cut up,” said he, “that chicken.”
OKAY WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK
“O sir,” said I, “I have eaten a whole breast of chicken already, and cannot eat so much.” But he said I must eat it for his sake, and he would teach me to eat heartily
Pamela and Fifty Shades of Grey were written over two hundred years apart, and they both feature men who get weirdly demanding about the women they love eating whatever they think is enough. HOW ARE THESE BOOKS ACTUALLY ALL THE SAME?
After dinner, the Master tells Pamela, “I will now talk to you in a serious manner”, as though this hasn’t been the whole fucking book so far. He admits that he overheard all that her criticism against him to Mrs. Jewkes when he was disguised as Nan (who, as one of our readers pointed out last week, has apparently completed disappeared, which is ominous), and that hearing her hatred of him “half disarmed my resolution”. Except it didn’t, because it just made him want her more.
“I cannot but confess my passion for you is increased by it. […] I have hitherto been guilty of no very enormous or vile actions […] Confining you thus may perhaps be one of the worst, at least to person of real innocence.”
“Of real innocence” against… being kidnapped by an obsessed stalker? Wow, it’s a good thing we’ve made such progress as a society and no longer have to legitimize a victim’s suffering first before-
The Master tells her (again) that she has wit beyond her years, but he now adds “and, as I thought, your opportunities”, because the only thing making Pamela any different from Fifty Shades of Grey is that it took place in a time where you had to make it a big deal when someone of a higher socioeconomic class was romantically interested in… uh… nevermind.
“But what can I do? Consider the pride of my condition. I cannot endure the thought of marriage, even with a person of equal or superior degree to myself”
“But the real issue is totally our different social classes!”
“Yet I must have you; I cannot bear the thoughts of any other man supplanting me in your affections”
Wouldn’t that require Pamela to actually like him first? Because she has literally never ever ever talked of any romantic feelings for the Master, so it’s not like-
His manner too had something so noble, and so sincere [I needed] all my poor discretion to ward off […] my most guarded thoughts.
I threw myself at his feet […] “O sir,” said I, “spare your poor servant’s confusion! O spare the poor Pamela!”
WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? The closest thing Pamela has ever said to “I secretly have feelings for the Master” is that one time he almost drowned and she was like “well, I’m glad he didn’t die”, and there is a subtle nuance between those two feelings.
Now I begin to be afraid I know too well the reason why all his hard trials of me […] would not let me hate him.
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? [Ariel says: This is the one thing she chooses to leave out of her billion page letters???]
The Master asks her to tell him what he should do. Pamela says that she “ought to regard the world’s opinion” and “avoid doing anything disgraceful”. The Master asks her to tell him what he should do, more explicitly. This goes back and forth forever (and Pamela still manages to write it all down verbatim later somehow) until Pamela admits that she heard his “thawed by kindness” plan. Samuel Richardson also tries to have her stay in character.
“I know not the man breathing that I should wish to be married to, or that ever I thought of with such an idea. I had brought my mind so to love poverty.”
“[But] have you not encouraged Williams to think you will have him?”
Oh for fuck’s sake. This again?
“Do you think it is possible for you to love me preferably to any other of my sex?”
The first part of the book ends (we finished part one, you guys!) with the Master reminding Pamela that because of “the world’s censure”, he can’t marry, and ends the conversation by ambiguously saying that he’s the one who needs to be worried around Pamela. Pamela wonders if this is still just the Master trying to get in her pants.