He was going, and I took his hand: “Stay, dear Sir, let me know what you would have me do. If you would have me stay, I will.”
“To be sure I would.”
“Well, Sir, then I will. For it is hard,” thought I, “if an innocent person cannot look up in her own house too, as it now is, as I may say, to a guilty one! Guilty in her heart, at least!—Though, poor lady, I hope she is not so in fact; and, if God hears my prayers, never will, for all three of our sakes.”
But, Madam, think of me, what a task I have!—How my heart throbs in my bosom! How I tremble! how I struggle with myself! What rules I form for my behaviour to this naughty lady! How they are dashed in pieces as soon as formed, and new ones taken up! And yet I doubt myself when I come to the test.
But one thing will help me. I pity the poor lady; and as she comes with the heart of a robber, to invade me in my lawful right, I pride myself in a superiority over this countess; and will endeavour to shew her the country girl in a light which would better become her to appear in.
I must be forced to leave off here; for Mr. B. is just come in to receive his guests; and I am in a sad flutter upon it. All my resolution fails me; what shall I do? O that this countess was come and gone!
I have one comfort, however, in the midst of all my griefs; and that is in your ladyship’s goodness, which gives me leave to assume the honoured title, that let what may happen, will always give me equal pride and pleasure, in subscribing myself, your ladyship’s most obliged sister, and humble servant,
MY DEAR LADY,
I will now pursue my last affecting subject; for the visit is over; but a sad situation I am in with Mr. B. for all that: but, bad as it is, I’ll try to forget it, till I come to it in course.
At four in the afternoon Mr. B. came in to receive his guests, whom he expected at five. He came up to me. I had just closed my last letter; but put it up, and set before me your ladyship’s play subjects.
“So, Pamela!—How do you do now?”
Your ladyship may guess, by what I wrote before, that I could not give any extraordinary account of myself—“As well—as well, Sir, as possible;” half out of breath.
“You give yourself strange melancholy airs of late, my dear. All that cheerfulness, which used to delight me whenever I saw you, I am sorry for it, is quite vanished. You and I must shortly have a little serious talk together.”
“When you please. Sir. I believe it is only being used to this smoky thick air of London!—I shall be better when you carry me into the country. I dare say I shall. But I never was in London so long before, you know, Sir.”
“All in good time, Pamela!—But is this the best appearance you choose to make, to receive such guests?”