“Dearest Sir! how can you speak such a word? A word I cannot repeat after you! For at that very time, I beheld you with the more reverence, for seeing your noble heart touched with a sense of your error; and it was such an earnest to me of the happiest change I could ever wish for, and in so young a gentleman, that it was one half joy for that, and the other half concern at the little charmer’s accidental plea, to her best and nearest friend, for coming home to her new aunt, that affected me so sensibly as you saw.”
“You must not talk to me of the child’s coming home, after this visit, Pamela; for how, at this rate, shall I stand the reproaches of my own mind, when I see the little prater every day before me, and think of what her poor mamma has suffered on my account! ’Tis enough, that in you, my dear, I have an hourly reproach before me, for my attempts on your virtue; and I have nothing to boast of, but that I gave way to the triumphs of your innocence: and what then is my boast?”
“What is your boast, dearest Sir? You have everything to boast, that is worthy of being boasted of.
“You are the best of husbands, the best of landlords, the best of masters, the best of friends; and, with all these excellencies, and a mind, as I hope, continually improving, and more and more affected with the sense of its past mistakes, will you ask, dear Sir, what is your boast?
“O my dearest, dear Mr. B.,” and then I pressed his hands with my lips, “whatever you are to yourself, when you give way to reflections so hopeful, you are the glory and the boast of your grateful Pamela! And permit me to add,” tears standing in my eyes, and holding his hand between mine, “that I never beheld you in my life, in a more amiable light, than when I saw that noble consciousness which you speak of, manifest itself in your eyes, and your countenance—O Sir! this was a sight of joy, of true joy! to one who loves you for your dear soul’s sake, as well as for that of your person; and who looks forward to a companionship with you beyond the term of this transitory life.”
Putting my arms round his arms, as I sat, my fearful eye watching his, “I fear. Sir, I have been too serious! I have, perhaps, broken one of your injunctions! Have cast a gloominess over your mind! And if I have, dear Sir, forgive me!”
He clasped his arms around me: “O my beloved Pamela,” said he; “thou dear confirmer of all my better purposes! How shall I acknowledge your inexpressible goodness to me? I see every day more and more, my dear love, what confidence I may repose in your generosity and discretion! You want no forgiveness; and my silence was owing to much better motives than to those you were apprehensive of.”
He saw my grateful transport, and kindly said, “Struggle not, my beloved Pamela, for words to express sentiments which your eyes and your countenance much more significantly express than any words can do. Every day produces new instances of your affectionate concern for my future as well as present happiness: and I will endeavour to confirm to you all the hopes which the present occasion has given you of me, and which I see by these transporting effects are so desirable to you.”