The Vicar of Wakefield: Notes on Chapters 25-32.
Primrose being led away to the prison by the officers with his family in tow. As they are leaving the village, they encounter a mob of Dr. Primrose’s parishioners who have come with weapons to defend the Vicar. He expertly tells them to dismantle and leave, as they will serve no purpose than to hurt his already dire situation. After arriving at the town and assuring his family is settled in, the police move him to the town prison. Finding himself in his own small cell, he encounters another prisoner who attempts to offer some civility in the form of bedding to sleep on. After the other prisoner begins a educational verse, the Vicar realizes this is the old man who swindled him out of a horse. Dr. Primrose tells this to the man, who’s name is Ephraim Jackson, that because of his civility and generosity he will forgot the man’s con, and also send his son to persuade the neighbor Mr. Flamborough to drop the evidence against him. .
Dr. Primrose is woken the next morning by his family, and he readily assigns them tasks to do while he is in prison. Things like getting an apartment, cooking his meals, and making wages to support the family are discussed. The doctor also has some of his family sleep in the prison apartment with him, as there is not enough space in the apartment his son has found. Later, in the common yard, Dr. Primrose takes it upon himself to preach a sermon to the other prisoners, and be begins to befriend many of them after its conclusion. Mr. Jenkinson then comes back to the cell, and he begins to the tell the family and Dr. Primrose how he became a con man.
Dr. Primrose begins an effort to reform the other prisoners through a series of sermons and instruction, and it leads to him analyzing the effectiveness of the current penal systems and its punishments. He concludes that prisoners need forgiveness and guidance in understanding their transgressions to properly reform them.