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know personally, you must oblige on every Occasion that Offers, to engage their Interest at your Benefit." He will, moreover, have "the mortifying Knowledge of being deem'd a Vagrant by the Laws of his Country."
Many of the other letters have characteristic touches. A Sea Officer, writing to his wife from abroad, sends her a "small Parcel of Cyprus wine"; while a Sailor, not to be behind-hand, forwards to his Peggy from Barbadoes, "as a Token of my Love," six bottles of Citron-water, which "is what, they say, Ladies drink, when they can get it." To which Peggy returns, in the true "Rule Britannia" vein, "Let who will speak against Sailors; they are the Glory and the Safeguard of the Land. And what would have become of Old
England long ago but for them? I am sure the lazy good-for-nothing Land-lubbers would never have protected us from our cruel Foes." Another passage shows a Fielding-like appreciation of the wrongs of the "inferior clergy." "Parson Matthews goes on preaching and living excellently, and has still as many Admirers as Hearers, but no preferment: While old clumsy Parson Dromedary is made a Dean, and has Hopes, by his Sister's means, who is a Favourite of a certain great Man, to be a Bishop." Towards the end of the book are eleven letters from "a young Lady in Town to her Aunt in the Country," describing the sights of London and Westminster. These, in some respects, are the most interesting in the collection. Vauxhall, of course, is visited, and the writer sits in one of the
1 "Plenty of Barbadoes-water for the ladies"-was, it will be remembered, considerately provided by Lieut. Hatchway for Commodore Trunnion's wedding supper (Peregrine Pickle; ch. ix.).
famous supper-boxes in the Grove, which is decorated by a scene from Hippisley's Hob in the Well. At Westminster Abbey, she censures Mat Prior's monument as 66 a sad Instance of Pride beyond the Grave!" and condemns, very properly, Gay's flippant epitaph on himself. As regards Sir Cloudesley Shovel, she follows Addison, which shows that Richardson must have read his Spectator more diligently than he would have Cave to believe: "I thought (says the writer of the letter) he [the Admiral] was a rough honest Tar; yet his Effigies makes him a great Beau, with a fine flowing full-bottomed Periwig, such a one, but much finer, and more in Buckle, than that we have seen our Lawyer Mr. Kettleby1 wear at our Assizes." At Bedlam, to which, like the ladies in the Rake's Progress, she also goes, she has the unpleasant experience of being mistaken by one of the Patients for the particular "Betty Careless" who is the cause of his anguish. "No sooner did I put my Face to the Grate, but he leap'd from his Bed, and called me, with frightful Fervency, to come into his Room. . . . My Cousin assured me such Fancies were frequent upon these Occasions." 2 At the Play, she witnesses Hamlet, and is justly severe upon "the low Scenes of Harlequinery," by which it was followed. Finally, there is a letter, not of this series,
1 It is strange that in these model epistles, Richardson should mention a real personage. Kettleby, whose full-bottomed wig is historical, was a subscriber to Fielding's Miscellanies of 1743; is mentioned the Causidicade; and was, by many, identified as the Parson of Hogarth's Midnight Modern Conversation.
2 Until late in the Eighteenth Century Bedlam was a show and place of meeting. Visitors were admitted for a penny each; and John Taylor says that his father courted his mother there (Records of my Life, 1832, i. 3).
which graphically describes "Execution Day," with all the horrors of that "Diversion of the Populace" against which Fielding and other contemporaries so persistently appealed. There is a passage in it which might have come direct from the autobiography of the "Prisoner's Chaplain," Silas Told. "One of the Bodies was carried to the Lodging of his Wife, who not being in the way to receive it, they [the Mob] immediately hawked it about to every Surgeon they could think of; and when none would buy it, they rubb'd Tar all over it, and left it in a Field hardly cover'd with Earth."
Richardson was ashamed of the Familiar Letters. He seems never to have added to them, for the number given in the seventh edition, published after his death, with his name, is the same as that in the first, viz.: one hundred and seventy-three. "This volume of letters" - he wrote to a friend- "is not worthy of your perusal." They [the letters] were "intended for the lower classes of people," he says again in another place; and Mrs. Barbauld observes that the book is "seldom found any where but in the servant's drawer." Why it should take refuge there in particular, is not clear, since it is not exclusively calculated for the meridian of the kitchen. Nor is it clear why Jeffrey in his review of Mrs. Barbauld's book in the Edinburgh for October 1804, should especially recommend it as likely to be" of singular use to Mr. Wordsworth and his friends in their great scheme of turning all our poetry into the language of the common people." In both cases it would seem as if the writers knew little experimentally of the work referred to.
PAMELA; OR, VIRTUE Rewarded
IN the preceding chapter, Richardson's account of the origin of his first novel was purposely suspended in order to pursue the story of the collection of Familiar Letters which he had undertaken to prepare for Messrs. Rivington and Osborn. That account is now resumed. "In the progress of it [the collection],"” — he goes on to say, "writing two or three letters to instruct handsome girls, who were obliged to go out to service, as we phrase it, how to avoid the snares that might be laid against their virtue," a story which he had heard many years before recurred to his thoughts. "And hence sprung Pamela." "Little did I think, at first," he adds elsewhere, "of making one, much less two volumes of it." "I thought the story, if written in an easy and natural manner, suitably to the simplicity of it, might possibly introduce a new species of writing, that might possibly turn young people into a course of reading different from the pomp and parade of romance-writing, and dismissing the improbable and marvellous, with which novels generally abound, might tend to promote the cause of religion and virtue." His wife, with a young lady friend who lived with them, grew interested in the book during its progress, and were in the habit of
coming every evening to his little writing-closet with, "Have you any more of Pamela, Mr. R.? We are come to hear a little more of Pamela,” etc. encouragement from his "worthy-hearted" better-half and her companion, Pamela got on so fast that, begun on 10th November 1739, it was finished 10th January 1740. Mrs. Barbauld makes this three months. It was only two; and the fact that, in the intervals of a business to which he was devoted, its author contrived to produce two volumes of 296 and 396 pages each so rapidly, is no mean testimony to the fertility of his imagination and the promptitude of his pen.1
Which of the epistles to young women first set him on his task, is not now discernible. The Familiar Letters of 1741 contain at least three which bear indirectly upon this theme. One is No. cxxviii., headed: “A Father to a Daughter in Service, on hearing of her Master's attempting her Virtue," and it is followed by the daughter's reply; a third, No. lxii., relates the experiences of a young girl, who, coming to town without friends, narrowly escapes the fate of the heroine of Hogarth's famous Progress, and her "shocking Story" is authenticated by a note stating that it is "Fact in every Circumstance," taken from the mouth of the young girl herself." But the incident
1 In an unpublished letter to Aaron Hill at South Kensington, he adds some particulars to this account. "For twenty Years I had proposed to different Persons (who thought the Subject too humble for them) that of Pamela; and it was owing to an Accident (The writing the little Piece of Familiar Letters) that I entered upon it myself. And its strange Success at Publication is still my Surprize." (26 Jan. 1746–7).
2 That these dangers of Eighteenth-Century London were not wholly the growth of Richardson's imagination, is clear from an anecdote given in Dr. John Brown's Hore Subsecivæ, 1862, p. 25.