In volume II, we learn why Squire B. has chosen Pamela as a wife. On page 445, he explains that he believes that fewer Men than Women love better after marriage. This is why, the woman he should marry must be a woman he prefers above all her Sex. Secondly, he must be assured of her fidelity to him and preference of him over all other men. He states, “The Word Command, on my Side, or Obedience, on hers, I would have blotted from my vocabulary” (446).Although he declares that his married life would not be like the relationship between a master and a servant based on command and obedience, it is rather interesting that pages 448-451 are devoted to forty-eight rules upon which he expects Pamela to OBEY.
It may seem as though volume II is nothing less than an instruction manual on how a good wife should be. Squire B. alludes to his imperfections, and advises her to be free to tell him anything so that “nothing may lie upon either of our minds that shall occasion the least Reservedness” (368, Richardson).Pamela, in response, does not point out any of his flaws, but rather, informs him of her graciousness and subjection to his will. She continuously refers to Squire B, as the “charming Man” and her “dearest dear Sir.” Squire B describes how many women lose their figure and dress after marriage “as if she would take no Pains to secure the Affection she had gained” (368, Richardson).He even tells her that he will rise in Summer at six in the morning, and that he will ALLOW her to lie “half an Hour after me, or so” (368, Richardson).
A man such as Squire B. who wishes to never be denied chooses for a wife, a servant girl. He does not want a relationship based on command and obedience, and yet he constantly instructs her on how to be the wife he envisions her to be. One must wonder if such liberties would have been taken had she been a woman of noble birth.
1)Do you believe that part of Pamela’s appeal to Squire B. is not just her beauty and chastity, but also the fact that as a servant girl brought to a higher status because of matrimony, Squire B. can expect nothing less than obedience due to the wife’s gratefulness? (An interesting passage showing the double standard of a woman descending to a lower class based on a marriage to a man beneath them and a man raising the woman he marries may be found on Page 422)
2)Richardson gives Squire B. a past with Sally Godfrey. He even has an illegitimate child, Miss Goodwin.Are these experiences meant for us to have a harsher and more hypocritical look of Squire B., or rather, are these meant to show us Pamela’s bountiful love and goodness? Pamela is able to look past his double standard and manipulatively controlling ways and still remains faithful and always praising of his person.
3)What do you all think the lengthy Volume II is meant to signify? Do you think Victorian women would have read his instructions on being a good wife with complaisance or do you think they would have viewed his ideas critically?