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The Vicar of Wakefield
The Vicar of Wakefield

My son, who was present, endeavoured to moderate our grief; he bade us take comfort, for he hoped that we might still have reason to be thankful.—‘My child,’ cried I, ‘look round the world, and see if there be any happiness left me now. Is not every ray of comfort shut out; while all our bright prospects only lie beyond the grave!’—‘My dear father,’ returned he, ‘I hope there is still something that will give you an interval of satisfaction; for I have a letter from my brother George’—‘What of him, child,’ interrupted I, ‘does he know our misery. I hope my boy is exempt from any part of what his wretched family suffers?’—‘Yes, sir,’ returned he, ‘he is perfectly gay, chearful, and happy. His letter brings nothing but good news; he is the favourite of his colonel, who promises to procure him the very next lieutenancy that becomes vacant!’


‘And are you sure of all this,’ cried my wife, ‘are you sure that nothing ill has befallen my boy?’—‘Nothing indeed, madam,’ returned my son, ‘you shall see the letter, which will give you the highest pleasure; and if any thing can procure you comfort, I am sure that will.’ ‘But are you sure,’ still repeated she, ‘that the letter is from himself, and that he is really so happy?’—‘Yes, Madam,’ replied he, ‘it is certainly his, and he will one day be the credit and the support of our family!’—‘Then I thank providence,’ cried she, ‘that my last letter to him has miscarried.’ ‘Yes, my dear,’ continued she, turning to me, ‘I will now confess that though the hand of heaven is sore upon us in other instances, it has been favourable here. By the last letter I wrote my son, which was in the bitterness of anger, I desired him, upon his mother’s blessing, and if he had the heart of a man, to see justice done his father and sister, and avenge our cause. But thanks be to him that directs all things, it has miscarried, and I am at rest.’ ‘Woman,’ cried I, ‘thou hast done very ill, and at another time my reproaches might have been more severe. Oh! what a tremendous gulph hast thou escaped, that would have buried both thee and him in endless ruin. Providence, indeed, has here been kinder to us than we to ourselves. It has reserved that son to be the father and protector of my children when I shall be away. How unjustly did I complain of being stript of every comfort, when still I hear that he is happy and

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