But since the good ’squire cannot take this pleasure; since he so much values your person; since he gives you warning, that it may estrange his affections; since he is impatient of denial, and thinks so highly of his prerogative; since he may, if disobliged, resume some bad habits, and so you may have all your prayers and hopes in his perfect reformation frustrated, and find your own power to do good more narrowed: we think, besides the obedience you have vowed to him, and is the duty of every good wife, you ought to give up the point, and acquiesce; for this seemeth to us to be the lesser evil: and God Almighty, if it should be your duty, will not be less merciful than men; who, as his honour says, by the laws of the realm, excuses a wife, when she is faulty by the command of the husband; and we hope, the fault he is pleased to make you commit (if a fault, for he really gives very praise-worthy motives for his dispensation) will not be laid at his own door. So e’en resolve, my dearest child, to submit to it, and with cheerfulness too.
God send you an happy hour! But who knows, when the time comes, whether it may not be proper to dispense with this duty, as you deem it, on other accounts? For every young person is not enabled to perform it. So, to shew his honour, that you will cheerfully acquiesce, your dear mother advises you to look out for a wholesome, good-humoured, honest body, as near your complexion and temper, and constitution, as may be; and it may not be the worse, she thinks, if she is twenty, or one—or two-and-twenty; for she will have more strength and perfection, as one may say, than even you can have at your tender age: and, above all, for the wise reason you give from your reading, that she may be brought to-bed much about your time, if possible. We can look out, about us, for such an one. And, as Mr. B. is not adverse to have the dear child in the house, you will have as much delight, and the dear baby may fare as well, under your prudent and careful eye, as if you were obliged in the way you would choose.
So God direct you, my child, in all your ways, and make you acquiesce in this point with cheerfulness (although, as you say, one cannot believe, as one pleases; for we verily are of opinion you safely may, as matters stand) and continue to you, and your honoured husband, health, and all manner of happiness, are the prayers of your most affectionate father and mother,
J. and E. ANDREWS.
I thank you, my dearest parents, for your kind letter; it was given to Mr. B. and he brought it to me himself, and was angry with me: indeed he was, as you shall hear:
“’Tis from the good couple, my dear, I see. I hope they are of my opinion—But whether they be or not—But I will leave you; and do you, Pamela, step down to my closet, when you have perused it.”
He was pleased to withdraw; and I read it, and sat down, and considered it well; but, as you know I made it always my maxim to do what I could not avoid to do, with as good a grace as possible, I waited on the dear gentleman.