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The Vicar of Wakefield
The Vicar of Wakefield

For the three ensuing days I was in a state of anxiety, to know what reception my letter might meet with; but in the mean time was frequently solicited by my wife to submit to any conditions rather than remain here, and every hour received repeated accounts of the decline of my daughter’s health. The third day and the fourth arrived, but I received no answer to my letter: the complaints of a stranger against a favourite nephew, were no way likely to succeed; so that these hopes soon vanished like all my former. My mind, however, still supported itself though confinement and bad air began to make a visible alteration in my health, and my arm that had suffered in the fire, grew worse. My children however sate by me, and while I was stretched on my straw, read to me by turns, or listened and wept at my instructions. But my daughter’s health declined faster than mine; every message from her contributed to encrease my apprehensions and pain. The fifth morning after I had written the letter which was sent to Sir William Thornhill, I was alarmed with an account that she was speechless. Now it was, that confinement was truly painful to me; my soul was bursting from its prison to be near the pillow of my child, to comfort, to strengthen her, to receive her last wishes, and teach her soul the way to heaven! Another account came. She was expiring, and yet I was debarred the small comfort of weeping by her. My fellow prisoner, some time after, came with the last account. He bade me be patient. She was dead!—The next morning he returned, and found me with my two little ones, now my only companions, who were using all their innocent efforts to comfort me. They entreated to read to me, and bade me not to cry, for I was now too old to weep. ‘And is not my sister an angel, now, pappa,’ cried the eldest, ‘and why then are you sorry for her? I wish I were an angel out of this frightful place, if my pappa were with me.’ ‘Yes,’ added my youngest darling, ‘Heaven, where my sister is, is a finer place than this, and there are none but good people there, and the people here are very bad.’


Mr Jenkinson interupted their harmless prattle, by observing that now my daughter was no more, I should seriously think of the rest of my family, and attempt to save my own life, which was every day declining, for want of necessaries and wholesome air. He added, that it was now incumbent on me to sacrifice any pride or resentment of my

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