My dad gave me his old tablet because he decided he didn’t like it, so I’m writing this post on a tablet and a tiny-ass bluetooth keyboard. I’m one of those people now.
Pamela and the Master debate where to have their wedding, and Pamela insists on it being in a church. More importantly, a reminder that even in the 1700s these books happen way too quickly.
Said he, “I think it shall be done within these fourteen days, from this day […] Shall it be in the first seven days, or the second of this fortnight? […] I should thank you, Pamela, if you would choose the first.”
ONE WEEK? I get this was a slightly different time, but these two just went from “I will kidnap you until you love me!” to “Let’s get married in a week!” in fifty days. This makes the at-least-a-few months to go from zero to HAPPY HAPPY LOVE FOREVER in Fifty Shades and Crossfire look downright prudish.
Meanwhile, in female agency in the Western Canon-land (it’s a niche interest theme park), The Master then takes about half a page to go from this:
“I told you, I would see no more of your papers […] not without your consent”
To this when Pamela doesn’t want to show him one page of what she’s written:
“What is that? […] I more desire to see them”
A messenger returns with inconceivable, bad news: Pamela’s parents don’t believe this is really the plot of Pamela. For some reason, Pamela’s parents received Pamela’s letter explaining that she’s now in love with the upper class man who kidnapped her, and he also wants to marry her, and – in one of the few overlaps between the reader and the characters’ suspensions of disbelief – called bullshit. Although these are Pamela’s parents, so their main concern is that this means Pamela is no longer a virgin, which isn’t quite the same thing as finding the narrative pacing underdeveloped.
The Master then meets up with the newly freed Jacob Mr. Williams about that awkward matter of how he had him arrested for a bro code violation. Pamela runs into Mr. Williams walking to the house, and it’s “talk about the weather” awkward:
“Don’t you think that yonder cloud may give us a small shower?”
He said he believed not much.
Which is somehow more awkward than his “hey, so you had me arrested?” conversation with the Master, which is basically a few pages of “No! It’s my bad!” “No, it’s my bad.” Because no matter what time period it is, running into your ex is always peak awkward.
Also, the Master still won’t let this go:
“But he kept your secret, Pamela; and would not own, that you gave any encouragement”
It’s party time with the Master’s more open-minded friends (who apparently exist now)! For the characters in the story, this means that the Master needs to reassure Pamela that they’ll like her despite their class difference. For the reader, this means bracing yourself for like twenty-something pages of people talking about how great Pamela is.
- Sir Simon […] swore he never saw so easy an air, so fine a shape, and so graceful a presence.
- Lady Darnford was pleased to say I should be the flower of their neighborhood.
- “Did you ever see such excellence, such prudence, and discretion?” “Never in my life,” said the other good lady.
“We must insist upon her company at the card-table, and at a dish of tea”
- The young ladies said, if I pleased, they would take a turn about the garden with me.
- Sir Simon rapt out an oath, and said […] he would dine with me, and nobody else.
- Said my master, “I remember my poor mother would often say […] ‘I’ll send up for my Pamela, to show you how to carve [a turkey].'”
Said Lady Jones, “[Pamela] has every accomplishment of her sex.”
But don’t forget Pamela is the most specialest person ever because she thinks she’s the least specialest person ever.
“O madam,” said I, “I hope my good master’s favour wil never make me forget that it is my duty to wait upon his friends.”
And then sometimes these two things are so at odds with each other that I’m pretty sure Samuel Richardson is just making the rules up as he goes along:
They drank a glass of sack each, and Sir Simon would make me do so too […] “No, Sir Simon,” said I, “that can’t be, because the ladies’ journey hither makes a glass of canary a proper cordial for them: but I won’t refuse; because I will do myself the honor of drinking good health with you”
Pamela performs some music for the guests (because Pamela is so good at everything, everyone loves it, and so on as it was writ in the beginning), and we get our arbitrary “but maybe everything isn’t super duper!” reminder, and it’s on a whole other level of arbitrary:
I must own to you, my dear parents, that I have something very awful upon my mind, when I think of the matter; and shall, more and more, as it draws nearer and nearer.
No idea what that “something very awful” is though. Pamela is apparently also a precursor to the Zoey “I just had a feeling the plot would develop this way” Redbird-type character.
Because there just aren’t enough characters in this scene absolutely in love with all things Pamela, her dad shows up by surprise. He was apparently in town and heard rumor of the Master throwing a party to introduce some gentry to someone who “had been his mother’s waiting maid” and decided to confront the Master. Upon seeing that the Master and Pamela are actually happy and in love, he focuses on the important questions:
“Is she honest? Is she virtuous?”
Casual reminder that Pamela’s dad has explicitly stated that if she weren’t – regardless of whether she were a victim or not – he would rather she died than came home to him.