Study Guide

Pamela Chapter 18

By Samuel Richardson

Chapter 18

Letter XV

  • In her next letter home, we learn why Pamela had to sign off so quickly: Mr. B was coming.
  • Because she writing a letter about her boss's naughty behavior, she acted pretty guilty.
  • Mr. B then lit into her for not welcoming him home. (With what, slippers and a sandwich?)
  • He's also ticked off about two other things: telling Mrs. Jervis about the harassment, and writing a letter.
  • Pamela tries to get out of answering his accusations, but she eventually cops to both charges.
  • After some arguing back and forth, Pamela succeeds in making the master ashamed of his behavior, and he storms out of the room … only to come back a few minutes later and say that if Pamela is going to smear his name, he might as well deserve it.
  • She tells her parents that he "offer'd to take [her] on his Knee, with some Force" (18.11).
  • To make matters even worse, he made fun of her concern for her own honor; in his view, she is silly to worry about it at all, since she couldn't be held responsible for an act that she has no power to resist.
  • He said, "Pretty Fool! . . . how will you forfeit your Innocence, if you are oblig'd to yield to a Force you cannot withstand? Be easy . . . for let the worst happen that can, you'll have the Merit, and I the Blame, and it will be a good Subject for Letters to your Father and Mother, and a Tale into the Bargain for Mrs. Jervis" (18.11).
  • Um, if that's what Mr. B thinks, then he's obviously never heard of victim-blaming.
  • After a struggle, she managed to get away from him into another room, locked the door, and promptly fainted. Of course.
  • Mr. B saw this through the keyhole and then summoned Mrs. Jervis to attend to her.
  • To explain the scene to Mrs. Jervis, the master blamed everything on Pamela's being a "fool" in response to his "kindness" (18.32). He seemed resolved to kick her out of the house, which Pamela reports would suit her just fine.
  • He's arranged to have Mrs. Jervis bring Pamela to him the next day and invited Mrs. Jervis to stay and hear everything that goes on between them.