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The Vicar of Wakefield
The Vicar of Wakefield

forsaken; some friend, perhaps, will be found to assist them for the sake of their poor father, and some may charitably relieve them for the sake of their heavenly father.’


Just as I spoke, my wife, whom I had not seen that day before, appeared with looks of terror, and making efforts, but unable to speak. ‘Why, my love,’ cried I, ‘why will you thus encrease my afflictions by your own, what though no submissions can turn our severe master, tho’ he has doomed me to die in this place of wretchedness, and though we have lost a darling child, yet still you will find comfort in your other children when I shall be no more.’ ‘We have indeed lost,’ returned she, ‘a darling child. My Sophia, my dearest, is gone, snatched from us, carried off by ruffians!’


‘How madam,’ cried my fellow prisoner, ‘Miss Sophia carried off by villains, sure it cannot be?’


She could only answer with a fixed look and a flood of tears. But one of the prisoners’ wives, who was present, and came in with her, gave us a more distinct account: she informed us that as my wife, my daughter, and herself, were taking a walk together on the great road a little way out of the village, a post-chaise and pair drove up to them and instantly stopt. Upon which, a well drest man, but not Mr Thornhill, stepping out, clasped my daughter round the waist, and forcing her in, bid the postillion drive on, so that they were out of sight in a moment.


‘Now,’ cried I, ‘the sum of my misery is made up, nor is it in the power of any thing on earth to give me another pang. What! not one left! not to leave me one! the monster! the child that was next my heart! she had the beauty of an angel, and almost the wisdom of an angel. But support that woman, nor let her fall. Not to leave me one!’—‘Alas! my husband,’ said my wife, ‘you seem to want comfort even more than I. Our distresses are great; but I could bear this and more, if I saw you but easy. They may take away my children and all the world, if they leave me but you.’


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