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The Vicar of Wakefield
The Vicar of Wakefield

The Vicar of Wakefield - 30 - Oliver Goldsmith - Web Novel


Happier prospects begin to appear. Let us be inflexible, and fortune will at last change in our favour


When I had thus finished and my audience was retired, the gaoler, who was one of the most humane of his profession, hoped I would not be displeased, as what he did was but his duty, observing that he must be obliged to remove my son into a stronger cell, but that he should be permitted to revisit me every morning. I thanked him for his clemency, and grasping my boy’s hand, bade him farewell, and be mindful of the great duty that was before him.


I again, therefore laid me down, and one of my little ones sate by my bedside reading, when Mr Jenkinson entering, informed me that there was news of my daughter; for that she was seen by a person about two hours before in a strange gentleman’s company, and that they had stopt at a neighbouring village for refreshment, and seemed as if returning to town. He had scarce delivered this news, when the gaoler came with looks of haste and pleasure, to inform me, that my daughter was found. Moses came running in a moment after, crying out that his sister Sophy was below and coming up with our old friend Mr Burchell.


Just as he delivered this news my dearest girl entered, and with looks almost wild with pleasure, ran to kiss me in a transport of affection. Her mother’s tears and silence also shewed her pleasure.—‘Here, pappa,’ cried the charming girl, ‘here is the brave man to whom I owe my delivery; to this gentleman’s intrepidity I am indebted for my happiness and safety—’ A kiss from Mr Burchell, whose pleasure seemed even greater than hers, interrupted what she was going to add.


‘Ah, Mr Burchell,’ cried I, ‘this is but a wretched habitation you now find us in; and we are now very different from what you last saw us. You were ever our friend: we have long discovered our errors with regard to you, and repented of our ingratitude. After the vile usage you then received at my hands I am almost ashamed to behold your face; yet I hope you’ll forgive me, as I was deceived by a base ungenerous wretch, who, under the mask of friendship, has undone me.’


‘It is impossible,’ replied Mr Burchell, ‘that I should forgive you, as you never deserved my resentment. I partly saw your delusion then, and as it was out of my power to restrain, I could only pity it!’

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