To Pamela, the estate’s old-fashioned walled garden at first appears to be a prison, as its high walls serve only to shut her in. Later, however, it also seems to be a refuge, protecting her from external dangers. Similarly, other natural features trace Pamela’s progress from captive to captivator. Ultimately, the fifteen-year-old Pamela turns her principal disability–her inferior status–into an impregnable fortress.
The eighteenth century was the great age of the English garden. Tudor gardens, characterized by encircling walls, were redone in the new fashion of sunken fences that opened new floral vistas. Pamela’s letters describing Mr. B––’s house and garden lead readers to infer that neither had been much altered. The pleasantly unfashionable nature of the garden suggests fidelity to old values. The garden is also relatively unpretentious. For example, Pamela uses a plain sunflower to mark the hiding places for the letters that her presumably loyal friend Parson Williams will carry to their destinations.
Pond. Pool of water in the Lincolnshire estate’s garden. Early during her confinement, Pamela fishes in the garden’s pond and catches a carp. After considering the parallel between the fish and herself, she lets the carp go. Later, the pond assumes a more sinister aspect when Pamela contemplates suicide. Finally, as Mr. B–– moves toward proposing marriage to her, he sits beside her as she kneels on the bank of the pond, takes her in his arms, and tells her, “I love you with a purer flame than ever I knew in my life, and which commenced for you in the garden.”