Pamela, Or Virtue Rewarded (Chapter 2, page 3 of 8)

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Chapter 2

'VI. Now, Pamela, will you see by this, what a value I set upon the
free-will of a person already in my power; and who, if these proposals
are not accepted, shall find, that I have not taken all these pains, and
risked my reputation, as I have done, without resolving to gratify my
passion for you, at all adventures; and if you refuse, without making
any terms at all. VI. I know, sir, by woful experience, that I am in your power:
I know all the resistance I can make will be poor and weak, and,
perhaps, stand me in little stead: I dread your will to ruin me
is as great as your power: yet, sir, will I dare to tell you,
that I will make no free-will offering of my virtue. All that
I can do, poor as it is, I will do, to convince you, that your
offers shall have no part in my choice; and if I cannot escape
the violence of man, I hope, by God's grace, I shall have nothing
to reproach myself, for not doing all in my power to avoid my
disgrace; and then I can safely appeal to the great God, my only
refuge and protector, with this consolation, That my will bore no
part in my violation. '

VII. You shall be mistress of my person and fortune, as much as if the
foolish ceremony had passed. All my servants shall be yours; and you
shall choose any two persons to attend yourself, either male or female,
without any control of mine: and if your conduct be such, that I have
reason to be satisfied with it, I know not (but will not engage for
this) that I may, after a twelvemonth's cohabitation, marry you; for, if
my love increases for you, as it has done for many months past, it will
be impossible for me to deny you any thing.

'And now, Pamela, consider well, it is in your power to oblige me on
such terms, as will make yourself, and all your friends, happy: but this
will be over this very day, irrevocably over; and you shall find all you
would be thought to fear, without the least benefit arising from it to
yourself. 'And I beg you'll well weigh the matter, and comply with my proposals;
and I will instantly set about securing to you the full effect of them:
And let me, if you value yourself, experience a grateful return on this
occasion, and I'll forgive all that's past.'

VII. I have not once dared to look so high, as to such a
proposal as your seventh article contains. Hence have proceeded
all my little abortive artifices to escape from the confinement
you have put me in; although you promised to be honourable to me.
Your honour, well I know, would not let you stoop to so mean and
so unworthy a slave, as the poor Pamela: All I desire is, to be
permitted to return to my native meanness unviolated. What have
I done, sir, to deserve it should be otherwise? For the obtaining
of this, though I would not have married your chaplain, yet would
I have run away with your meanest servant, if I had thought I could
have got safe to my beloved poverty. I heard you once say, sir,
That a certain great commander, who could live upon lentils, might
well refuse the bribes of the greatest monarch: And I hope, as I
can contentedly live at the meanest rate, and think not myself
above the lowest condition, that I am also above making an exchange
of my honesty for all the riches of the Indies. When I come to be
proud and vain of gaudy apparel, and outside finery, then (which I
hope will never be) may I rest my principal good in such vain
trinkets, and despise for them the more solid ornaments of a good
fame, and a chastity inviolate!

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