Remember that time in Fifty Shades where Christian was all, “Hey, we’ve been happy together for about a month. It’s high time we started thinking about getting married?” and then an entire book was written about that? Well, on the plus side, Pamela does not spend an entire book doing that, just a lot of one book. So in this respect it’s more like the Beautiful Disaster of the 18th century. How prestigious. [Ariel says: HEY over in Entwined with You they’re just alluding to the fact that Gideon’s going to propose soon. We haven’t had to have the beginning of a book dedicated to flashbacks to the wedding…yet.]
The Master shows up with the marriage license. Pamela gets really excited about paperwork.
O how my heart fluttered at the sight of it!
[Ariel says: This doesn’t surprise me at all. If there’s one thing I know about Pamela, it’s that she fucking loves paper!]
The master suggests “haha, why not TODAY?”, and then her heart gets less fluttery and more flustery. The WordPress app on my tablet doesn’t have spellcheck. I can do whatever I want, language.
“Pray, sir, hear me! Indeed it cannot be today!”
“Cannot! […] Why flattered you then my fond heart,” replied he, “with the hope that it might?”
God, the Master’s like that guy who sends an unwarranted dick pic and then gets mad that the bitch led him on. [Ariel says: When is a dick pic ever not wanted? You’re implying that they’re not universally beloved by da ladiez, which just does not compute.]
There’s a long conversation about how Pamela wants to be married on a Thursday because throughout her life Thursdays have been good days for her, and the Master tries to tell her this is silly and should make a new day of the week her “good” days. In a weird way, this is probably one of the more successful parts of the novel, because 1) it shows (not tells!) a flirtatious relationship with a silly conversation between the romantic leads a la Christian Grey and Ana’s emails, and 2) it is absolutely insufferable.
After all that, Pamela insists on Thursday anyway, and the Master responds by going to get the Parson, unless she can come up with a better reason. On the one hand, I hate this, because it’s more goddamn undermining female agency. But on the other hand, this is great because Pamela is really stupid. I am torn between my hatred for the patriarchy and my hatred for these characters! Like every book we read for this blog. Wow, I have a lot of negativity in my life.
Over dinner, Pamela and the Master discuss a number of subplots, including:
- The Master wants to ask Mr. Williams to officiate the wedding to give Mr. Williams a chance for “thorough reconciliation”, because the Master has no idea what either of those words mean. [Ariel says: Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea. Maybe Brett should officiate Eva and Gideon’s wedding!]
- The Master continues to experience fallout from the rest of the 1% about his pending marriage to Pamela. His sister has now gotten her husband to write a letter about what a mistake this is.
“I find I have spies upon me wherever I go, and whatever I do,” [said the Master, who is clearly the real victim in all of this]
Anyway, wanna sound really smart in case you ever find yourself in a hoighty-toighty intellectual conversation about Pamela? (Like, just in case? I dunno how you live your life.) So the Master infers that his sister probably actually ghost-wrote her husband’s letter. So someone defending Pamela as a valuable contribution to the Western canon could take this and argue that Pamela is not so misogynist, because – Look! Women have more power in the world than it would first reveal! This is actually subversively feminist and quite progressive for its time! BUT your counter-point exists one level deeper: power over what? Because even if the female characters have a voice (progressive!), they’re still only using that voice to support social constructs the patriarchy has imposed upon them (not progressive!). Ta da! Whip that one out at fancy, liberal arts cocktail parties! (I dunno how you live your life.)
Pamela and the Master start their day with a conversation about “English authors, poets particularly”, because 63% of the way through the book is a good time to start acting like Pamela and the Master have anything in common. [Ariel says: Haha this is like every scene with Christian and Ana would suddenly start talking about music (I’m sorry, Christian’s “eclectic” tastes) and act like it was clear they were meant 2 be.
Pamela continues to be mysteriously plagued by feelings that something is arbitrarily amiss.
Still, what ails me, I wonder! A strange sort of weight hangs upon my mind […] I hope this is not ominous
PRO WRITING TIP: Nothing is more subtly unnerving than the narrator explicitly stating so. That’s the reason why the Star Wars line, “I hope nothing bad is about to happen! I wonder what it could be!” is so well-known!
Pamela confesses her vague fears to the Master, and it’s revealed that her fears are about their class difference, which is about as surprising as the part at the end of Harry Potter where Voldemort died. [Ariel says: But less surprising than when gangsters turned out to be half the plot of Beautiful/Walking Disaster or the Russian mob became a thing in Entwined with You. We have a really weird spectrum here.] The Master tries to reassure her that all will be okay:
I will not trouble you with twenty sweet agreeable things that passed in conversation
But Pamela will trouble us with letting us know if someone is in the room, or if she stopped writing for five minutes, or literally every other word that has ever been said, etc…
“Though I have, these three days past, thought every tedious hour a day, till Thursday comes, if you earnestly desire it, I will postpone it.” […]
“Sir,” said I, “I can expect nothing but superlative goodness. I have been so long used to it from you.“
Remember that time the Master kidnapped Pamela 56 days ago? Because Pamela doesn’t.
Pamela then mentions that because the Master is marrying so far beneath his station, he won’t be receiving any settlements from her as he would a proper Lady. The Master says that’s no matter, because what does he really need more material wealth for, and that Pamela offers something “infinitely more valuable”. Then he says something entirely too self-aware for Pamela:
“To all that know your story, and your merit, it will appear that I cannot recompense you for what I have made you suffer.”
Holy character deveopment, Batman! That’s… that’s actually correct? Is this a fluke of writing, or has the Master actually realized that his behavior towards women is really creepy?
“Let me tell my sweet girl, that, after having been long tossed by the boisterous winds of a more culpable passion (translation: after being a man-whore), I have now conquered it, and am not so much the victim of your beauty, all charming as you are, as of your virtue.”
Remember “virtue” in this book means “virginity”, so… yeah, we can probably rule out character development.
Meanwhile, in incredibly weird parallels between Pamela and Fifty Shades of Grey: men literally scaring women into eating food.
I could not eat, and yet, I tried, for fear he should be angry.
They agree to secretly be married tomorrow. Pamela notices that, hey, she kind of writes a lot.
I have got such a knack of writing, that when I am by myself, I cannot sit without a pen in my hand. But I am now called to breakfast.
So close, and yet so far.