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(Reading time: 8 - 16 minutes)
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The Vicar of Wakefield

honour could be guilty of such deliberate baseness, and thus step into a family to undo it.’


‘My dear papa,’ returned my daughter, ‘you labour under a strange mistake, Mr Burchell never attempted to deceive me. Instead of that he took every opportunity of privately admonishing me against the artifices of Mr Thornhill, who I now find was even worse than he represented him.’—‘Mr Thornhill,’ interrupted I, ‘can it be?’—‘Yes, Sir,’ returned she, ‘it was Mr Thornhill who seduced me, who employed the two ladies, as he called them, but who, in fact, were abandoned women of the town, without breeding or pity, to decoy us up to London. Their artifices, you may remember would have certainly succeeded, but for Mr Burchell’s letter, who directed those reproaches at them, which we all applied to ourselves. How he came to have so much influence as to defeat their intentions, still remains a secret to me; but I am convinced he was ever our warmest sincerest friend.’


‘You amaze me, my dear,’ cried I; ‘but now I find my first suspicions of Mr Thornhill’s baseness were too well grounded: but he can triumph in security; for he is rich and we are poor. But tell me, my child, sure it was no small temptation that could thus obliterate all the impressions of such an education, and so virtuous a disposition as thine.’


‘Indeed, Sir,’ replied she, ‘he owes all his triumph to the desire I had of making him, and not myself, happy. I knew that the ceremony of our marriage, which was privately performed by a popish priest, was no way binding, and that I had nothing to trust to but his honour.’ ‘What,’ interrupted I, ‘and were you

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