Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded

Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded Summary and Analysis of Pamela’s Journal: The 5th Day of her Freedom through the 10th.



The neighboring gentry come to dinner: Sir Simon Darnford, his wife, and their daughters; Lady Jones and her sister-in-law; Mr. Peters the parson, his wife, and their niece. Mr. B. introduces Pamela as “my pretty Rustick,” and the guests lavish praise on her appearance. Pamela assists Mrs. Jewkes in serving refreshments, and Sir Simon remarks Pamela’s habit of addressing the Squire as “Master.” Lady Darnford requests that Pamela dine with them, but Pamela excuses herself. Her humility impresses the ladies. She then takes a turn in the garden with the younger ladies, one of whom had hopes of marrying Mr. B. herself. Pamela then obliges the company by playing the spinet and singing a song that Mrs. B. learned in Bath.

Around four o’clock Mr. B. fetches Pamela and warns her to prepare herself to meet a very surprising guest downstairs. Pamela braces herself for a mortifying encounter with Mr. Williams but finds her father instead. Father and daughter have an ecstatic reunion, which Mr. B. stages in front of all the company. Alone with Pamela, Mr. Andrews volunteers to move with his wife into a far country so that they will not disgrace their daughter with their poverty. Pamela insists, however, that their honest poverty is her glory.

Returning to Mr. B. and the guests, Pamela mildly resents the Squire’s forcing her to meet her father in front of the assembled gentry. When Pamela wishes to take supper alone with her father, the company will not hear of it. After supper, there is discussion of the wedding date. Mr. B. expresses his opinion that “the sooner it is done, the better.” Mr. Andrews has no opinion, and Pamela, when the Squire presses her to agree to a date within the week, secures his permission to give her answer the next day.


Pamela walks with her father in the garden in the morning. Mr. B. soon joins them, having spent the night reading the papers Mr. Andrews brought with him. He once again contests the issue of Pamela’s willingness to marry Mr. Williams, and he expresses concern over Mrs. Jewkes’s treatment of Pamela. Over breakfast, they discuss the wedding date again, and Pamela again prefers the second week of the fortnight. Pamela then goes upstairs to dress herself, in accordance with Mr. B.’s request, in some of the contents of the two bundles she previously rejected. She descends again, surprising Mr. B. and her father with her appearance. Mr. B. then discusses with her the refurbishment of the chapel and his plans to keep it in use from now on.

Pamela and Mr. B. drive to a meadow for a walk and happen upon Mr. Williams. The Squire and the clergyman discuss the latter’s participation in Pamela’s plans for escape, and Mr. Williams confirms that he received no encouragement from Pamela in his desire to marry her. Mr. B. is pleased and tells Pamela that she may number Mr. Williams among her friends. Mr. B. and Pamela then introduce Mr. Williams to Pamela’s father. After a general exchange of elevated sentiments, Mr. Williams remarks on how fortunate Mr. B. is to have received the grace of moral reformation before the commission of grave sin.

After dinner, they visit the chapel, which Pamela approves. Mr. B. invites Mr. Williams to officiate at Divine Service the next day and then cancels the clergyman’s debt, apologizing for his persecution of him.


Several of the neighboring gentry attend Divine Service in Mr. B.’s chapel, as do all of the household servants. At dinner, Mr. B. asks Pamela to sing her own version of Psalm 137. When she refuses, he takes a copy of it from his pocket and threatens to read it aloud himself. Finally, Mr. B. performs a scriptural duet with Mr. Williams, whereby the clergyman reads a stanza or two from the Authorized Version and Mr. B. supplies the corresponding stanzas of Pamela’s version. Pamela receives praises from all the ladies.

While everyone walks in the garden in the afternoon, Lady Jones instigates another discussion of the wedding date and the Miss Darnfords have the idea for a ball, which Pamela nixes. After tea, the gentry leave and Mr. Andrews begs to leave the next morning. Before he goes to bed, Pamela asks him not to work so hard from now on, since she expects that Mr. B. plans to do something for him.


Colbrand arrives with a marriage license, prompting yet another discussion of the wedding date. Pamela continues to prefer the Thursday at the end of the original fortnight and even professes a superstitious attachment to Thursdays in general. Mr. B. disputes it with her to no avail, and they finally settle on Thursday of the present week. At supper, Mr. B. mentions a letter he has received from Lady Davers’s husband, and they discuss Mr. B.’s rejection of his sister and the prospects of reconciliation. They then discuss arrangements for the wedding and the measures Mr. B. has taken to ensure that it will be a private affair.


Pamela and Mr. B. go for an airing in the chariot, during which she makes a pious reference to the afterlife and he asks her to stop being so gloomily tendentious, though he quickly softens the criticism. Pamela finds that there is a general weight upon her mind and a subtle dread of the coming Thursday. She fears that she will prove unworthy of the love of Mr. B.


Pamela continues to feel very serious about her approaching nuptials.

Wednesday Evening.

Pamela is too nervous to eat supper. Mr. B. attempts to comfort her by lauding her modesty and thoughtfulness. He offers to delay the wedding, but Pamela anticipates that she would endure the same anxiety on the later date. After a time, Pamela expresses concern about the breach between Mr. B. and Lady Davers and asks him to be patient with his sister. Mr. B. condemns Lady Davers as a terminal snob and shows no sign of being disposed to reconciliation. Pamela then worries about her own failure to bring a dowry to the marriage, but Mr. B. assures her that he is happy to improve her economic fortunes by way of making amends for his past treatment of her.

Mr. B. then summons Mrs. Jewkes and informs her that tomorrow is to be the wedding day and that they wish to keep it a secret for the time being. Mrs. Jewkes informs him that she has heard from a servant of Lady Davers that her ladyship intends to arrive in Lincolnshire in time to thwart the wedding. Before Mrs. Jewkes leaves, she and Pamela again reconcile, and the housekeeper learns that she is to attend Pamela at the ceremony.


This portion of the journal focuses mostly on the presentation of Pamela to the neighboring gentility. From now on, in fact, the chief business of the novel will be to show the process of Pamela’s acceptance by those reaches of society that everyone, including Mr. B. and Pamela herself, previously considered off-limits to her. Although Richardson seems to have shifted genres halfway through his story, switching from a rather gothic romance narrative to a novel of society and manners, the story of Pamela’s resistance to seduction has always been, in part, the story of her successful negotiation with a social context that was disposed to be hostile to her. With her installation as the future Mrs. B., that effort of negotiation simply changes its goal a bit and widens its scope.

As Robert Alan Donovan points out, Pamela during the period of her betrothal still occupies a highly ambiguous social role: she remains technically a servant, but everyone expects her to handle herself like a lady, and ladylike conduct involves a total prohibition on the performance of any of the menial tasks to which, as a servant, Pamela has been accustomed. She must evince the proper blend of dignity and humility, making a number of touchy distinctions; for example, though she agrees to drink a toast with the august company, she declines to sit down to dinner with them. Moreover, the neighbors who visit on Friday are friendly but definitely patronizing. Pamela’s country clothes, which have been so important to her as an index of her identity and integrity, they seem to regard as a charming species of indigenous costume, and in having to play the part of “pretty Rustick,” Pamela must essentially romanticize her own biography for their amusement.

Several details in this portion of the journal raise questions about just how equitable and happy Pamela’s marriage is going to be. Some readers, for instance, may find cause for concern in Mr. B.’s tendency to objectify Pamela by putting her on display. Pamela feels quite understandably self-conscious when Mr. B. announces the approach of his “pretty Rustick” and the neighbors “all, I saw, which dash’d me, stood at the Windows and in the Door-way, looking full at me.” Mr. B.’s stage-managing of Pamela’s reunion with her father, a deeply personal scene that anyone might prefer to enact in private, gives a similar sense that he is more interested in how Pamela’s generous feelings reflect on him than in how Pamela actually feels.

The reunion with Mr. Andrews has a strong upside, too, however. Richardson has characterized Pamela’s father with touches from the ballad tradition and Christian allegory. His traversing the countryside in search of his beloved daughter recalls the plight of innumerable lamenting fathers in hoary English songs, and his elevation from the stable in Bedfordshire to the table in Lincolnshire invites us to read his story as a parable in which the last shall be first. Contrasting Mr. B.’s treatment of his future father-in-law in this scene with his irreverence toward him in Bedfordshire certainly reveals a positive moral trajectory.

Further religious echoes augur not just the personal reformation of Mr. B. but also the general restoration of harmony and propriety in the household. The family chapel, which had fallen into disuse, is now “being got in tolerable Order” at Pamela’s request and will “always be kept in Order for the future.” Meanwhile, a shift in the characters’ uses of language signals the adoption of Pamela and her values by a formerly decadent establishment. Mr. B.’s scriptural duet with Mr. Williams is an image of reconciliation, and not simply because the Squire, under Pamela’s influence, has managed to overlook his differences with the clergyman. Mr. B.’s appreciative reading of Pamela’s re-written Psalm 137 suggests that he has accepted the legitimacy of her protest against her captivity and now espouses the values on which she based it. Further, the splicing of Pamela’s version with the Authorized Version symbolizes the alignment of Pamela with the established church; that church’s preeminent local representative, the vicar Mr. Peters, who once doubted her chastity and refused to aid in her escape, is now among her admiring audience and will participate in her wedding.