I toy with him?
"Indeed, there was no one equal to himself among the men with whom he
associated, and this he had felt as a depressing influence, although he
had never recognized the cause of his depression. There was Mr Ashton,
the vicar, who had succeeded Mr. Browning, a thoroughly good and
kind-hearted man, but one without an original thought in him; whose habitual
courtesy and indolent mind led him to agree to every opinion, not
palpably heterodox, and to utter platitudes in the most gentlemanly
manner. Mr. Gibson had once or twice amused himself, by leading the
vicar on in his agreeable admissions of arguments 'as perfectly
convincing,' and of statements as 'curious but undoubted,' till he had
planted the poor clergyman in a bog of heretical bewilderment. But then
Mr. Ashton's pain and suffering at suddenly finding out into what a
theological predicament he had been brought, his real self-reproach at
his previous admissions, were so great that Mr. Gibson lost all sense
of fun, and hastened back to the Thirty-nine Articles with all the
good-will in life, as the only means of soothing the vicar's
conscience. On any other subject, except that of orthodoxy, Mr. Gibson
could lead him any lengths; but then his ignorance on most of them
prevented bland acquiescence from arriving at any results which could
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