Part 16 out of 16
that deepened as she looked. The early dear, dear memories of that
brief prime of love rushed back upon her. The wound which years had
scarcely cicatrized bled afresh, and oh, how bitterly! She could
not bear the reproaches of the husband there before her. It
couldn't be. Never, never.
Poor Dobbin; poor old William! That unlucky word had undone the
work of many a year--the long laborious edifice of a life of love
and constancy--raised too upon what secret and hidden foundations,
wherein lay buried passions, uncounted struggles, unknown
sacrifices--a little word was spoken, and down fell the fair palace
of hope--one word, and away flew the bird which he had been trying
all his life to lure!
William, though he saw by Amelia's looks that a great crisis had
come, nevertheless continued to implore Sedley, in the most
energetic terms, to beware of Rebecca; and he eagerly, almost
frantically, adjured Jos not to receive her. He besought Mr. Sedley
to inquire at least regarding her; told him how he had heard that
she was in the company of gamblers and people of ill repute; pointed
out what evil she had done in former days, how she and Crawley had
misled poor George into ruin, how she was now parted from her
husband, by her own confession, and, perhaps, for good reason. What
a dangerous companion she would be for his sister, who knew nothing
of the affairs of the world! William implored Jos, with all the
eloquence which he could bring to bear, and a great deal more energy
than this quiet gentleman was ordinarily in the habit of showing, to
keep Rebecca out of his household.
Had he been less violent, or more dexterous, he might have succeeded
in his supplications to Jos; but the civilian was not a little
jealous of the airs of superiority which the Major constantly
exhibited towards him, as he fancied (indeed, he had imparted his
opinions to Mr. Kirsch, the courier, whose bills Major Dobbin
checked on this journey, and who sided with his master), and he
began a blustering speech about his competency to defend his own
honour, his desire not to have his affairs meddled with, his
intention, in fine, to rebel against the Major, when the colloquy--
rather a long and stormy one--was put an end to in the simplest way
possible, namely, by the arrival of Mrs. Becky, with a porter from
the Elephant Hotel in charge of her very meagre baggage.
She greeted her host with affectionate respect and made a shrinking,
but amicable salutation to Major Dobbin, who, as her instinct
assured her at once, was her enemy, and had been speaking against
her; and the bustle and clatter consequent upon her arrival brought
Amelia out of her room. Emmy went up and embraced her guest with
the greatest warmth, and took no notice of the Major, except to
fling him an angry look--the most unjust and scornful glance that
had perhaps ever appeared in that poor little woman's face since she
was born. But she had private reasons of her own, and was bent upon
being angry with him. And Dobbin, indignant at the injustice, not
at the defeat, went off, making her a bow quite as haughty as the
killing curtsey with which the little woman chose to bid him
He being gone, Emmy was particularly lively and affectionate to
Rebecca, and bustled about the apartments and installed her guest in
her room with an eagerness and activity seldom exhibited by our
placid little friend. But when an act of injustice is to be done,
especially by weak people, it is best that it should be done
quickly, and Emmy thought she was displaying a great deal of
firmness and proper feeling and veneration for the late Captain
Osborne in her present behaviour.
Georgy came in from the fetes for dinner-time and found four covers
laid as usual; but one of the places was occupied by a lady, instead
of by Major Dobbin. "Hullo! where's Dob?" the young gentleman asked
with his usual simplicity of language. "Major Dobbin is dining out,
I suppose," his mother said, and, drawing the boy to her, kissed him
a great deal, and put his hair off his forehead, and introduced him
to Mrs. Crawley. "This is my boy, Rebecca," Mrs. Osborne said--as
much as to say--can the world produce anything like that? Becky
looked at him with rapture and pressed his hand fondly. "Dear boy!"
she said--"he is just like my--" Emotion choked her further
utterance, but Amelia understood, as well as if she had spoken, that
Becky was thinking of her own blessed child. However, the company
of her friend consoled Mrs. Crawley, and she ate a very good dinner.
During the repast, she had occasion to speak several times, when
Georgy eyed her and listened to her. At the desert Emmy was gone
out to superintend further domestic arrangements; Jos was in his
great chair dozing over Galignani; Georgy and the new arrival sat
close to each other--he had continued to look at her knowingly more
than once, and at last he laid down the nutcrackers.
"I say," said Georgy.
"What do you say?" Becky said, laughing.
"You're the lady I saw in the mask at the Rouge et Noir."
"Hush! you little sly creature," Becky said, taking up his hand and
kissing it. "Your uncle was there too, and Mamma mustn't know."
"Oh, no--not by no means," answered the little fellow.
"You see we are quite good friends already," Becky said to Emmy, who
now re-entered; and it must be owned that Mrs. Osborne had
introduced a most judicious and amiable companion into her house.
William, in a state of great indignation, though still unaware of
all the treason that was in store for him, walked about the town
wildly until he fell upon the Secretary of Legation, Tapeworm, who
invited him to dinner. As they were discussing that meal, he took
occasion to ask the Secretary whether he knew anything about a
certain Mrs. Rawdon Crawley, who had, he believed, made some noise
in London; and then Tapeworm, who of course knew all the London
gossip, and was besides a relative of Lady Gaunt, poured out into
the astonished Major's ears such a history about Becky and her
husband as astonished the querist, and supplied all the points of
this narrative, for it was at that very table years ago that the
present writer had the pleasure of hearing the tale. Tufto, Steyne,
the Crawleys, and their history--everything connected with Becky and
her previous life passed under the record of the bitter diplomatist.
He knew everything and a great deal besides, about all the world--in
a word, he made the most astounding revelations to the simple-
hearted Major. When Dobbin said that Mrs. Osborne and Mr. Sedley
had taken her into their house, Tapeworm burst into a peal of
laughter which shocked the Major, and asked if they had not better
send into the prison and take in one or two of the gentlemen in
shaved heads and yellow jackets who swept the streets of
Pumpernickel, chained in pairs, to board and lodge, and act as tutor
to that little scapegrace Georgy.
This information astonished and horrified the Major not a little.
It had been agreed in the morning (before meeting with Rebecca) that
Amelia should go to the Court ball that night. There would be the
place where he should tell her. The Major went home, and dressed
himself in his uniform, and repaired to Court, in hopes to see Mrs.
Osborne. She never came. When he returned to his lodgings all the
lights in the Sedley tenement were put out. He could not see her
till the morning. I don't know what sort of a night's rest he had
with this frightful secret in bed with him.
At the earliest convenient hour in the morning he sent his servant
across the way with a note, saying that he wished very particularly
to speak with her. A message came back to say that Mrs. Osborne was
exceedingly unwell and was keeping her room.
She, too, had been awake all that night. She had been thinking of a
thing which had agitated her mind a hundred times before. A hundred
times on the point of yielding, she had shrunk back from a sacrifice
which she felt was too much for her. She couldn't, in spite of his
love and constancy and her own acknowledged regard, respect, and
gratitude. What are benefits, what is constancy, or merit? One curl
of a girl's ringlet, one hair of a whisker, will turn the scale
against them all in a minute. They did not weigh with Emmy more than
with other women. She had tried them; wanted to make them pass;
could not; and the pitiless little woman had found a pretext, and
determined to be free.
When at length, in the afternoon, the Major gained admission to
Amelia, instead of the cordial and affectionate greeting, to which
he had been accustomed now for many a long day, he received the
salutation of a curtsey, and of a little gloved hand, retracted the
moment after it was accorded to him.
Rebecca, too, was in the room, and advanced to meet him with a smile
and an extended hand. Dobbin drew back rather confusedly, "I--I beg
your pardon, m'am," he said; "but I am bound to tell you that it is
not as your friend that I am come here now."
"Pooh! damn; don't let us have this sort of thing!" Jos cried out,
alarmed, and anxious to get rid of a scene.
"I wonder what Major Dobbin has to say against Rebecca?" Amelia said
in a low, clear voice with a slight quiver in it, and a very
determined look about the eyes.
"I will not have this sort of thing in my house," Jos again
interposed. "I say I will not have it; and Dobbin, I beg, sir,
you'll stop it." And he looked round, trembling and turning very
red, and gave a great puff, and made for his door.
"Dear friend!" Rebecca said with angelic sweetness, "do hear what
Major Dobbin has to say against me."
"I will not hear it, I say," squeaked out Jos at the top of his
voice, and, gathering up his dressing-gown, he was gone.
"We are only two women," Amelia said. "You can speak now, sir."
"This manner towards me is one which scarcely becomes you, Amelia,"
the Major answered haughtily; "nor I believe am I guilty of habitual
harshness to women. It is not a pleasure to me to do the duty which
I am come to do."
"Pray proceed with it quickly, if you please, Major Dobbin," said
Amelia, who was more and more in a pet. The expression of Dobbin's
face, as she spoke in this imperious manner, was not pleasant.
"I came to say--and as you stay, Mrs. Crawley, I must say it in your
presence--that I think you--you ought not to form a member of the
family of my friends. A lady who is separated from her husband, who
travels not under her own name, who frequents public gaming-tables--"
"It was to the ball I went," cried out Becky.
"--is not a fit companion for Mrs. Osborne and her son," Dobbin went
on: "and I may add that there are people here who know you, and who
profess to know that regarding your conduct about which I don't even
wish to speak before--before Mrs. Osborne."
"Yours is a very modest and convenient sort of calumny, Major
Dobbin," Rebecca said. "You leave me under the weight of an
accusation which, after all, is unsaid. What is it? Is it
unfaithfulness to my husband? I scorn it and defy anybody to prove
it--I defy you, I say. My honour is as untouched as that of the
bitterest enemy who ever maligned me. Is it of being poor,
forsaken, wretched, that you accuse me? Yes, I am guilty of those
faults, and punished for them every day. Let me go, Emmy. It is
only to suppose that I have not met you, and I am no worse to-day
than I was yesterday. It is only to suppose that the night is over
and the poor wanderer is on her way. Don't you remember the song we
used to sing in old, dear old days? I have been wandering ever since
then--a poor castaway, scorned for being miserable, and insulted
because I am alone. Let me go: my stay here interferes with the
plans of this gentleman."
"Indeed it does, madam," said the Major. "If I have any authority
in this house--"
"Authority, none!" broke out Amelia "Rebecca, you stay with me. I
won't desert you because you have been persecuted, or insult you
because--because Major Dobbin chooses to do so. Come away, dear."
And the two women made towards the door.
William opened it. As they were going out, however, he took
Amelia's hand and said--"Will you stay a moment and speak to me?"
"He wishes to speak to you away from me," said Becky, looking like a
martyr. Amelia gripped her hand in reply.
"Upon my honour it is not about you that I am going to speak,"
Dobbin said. "Come back, Amelia," and she came. Dobbin bowed to
Mrs. Crawley, as he shut the door upon her. Amelia looked at him,
leaning against the glass: her face and her lips were quite white.
"I was confused when I spoke just now," the Major said after a
pause, "and I misused the word authority."
"You did," said Amelia with her teeth chattering.
"At least I have claims to be heard," Dobbin continued.
"It is generous to remind me of our obligations to you," the woman
"The claims I mean are those left me by George's father," William
"Yes, and you insulted his memory. You did yesterday. You know you
did. And I will never forgive you. Never!" said Amelia. She shot
out each little sentence in a tremor of anger and emotion.
"You don't mean that, Amelia?" William said sadly. "You don't mean
that these words, uttered in a hurried moment, are to weigh against
a whole life's devotion? I think that George's memory has not been
injured by the way in which I have dealt with it, and if we are come
to bandying reproaches, I at least merit none from his widow and the
mother of his son. Reflect, afterwards when--when you are at
leisure, and your conscience will withdraw this accusation. It does
even now." Amelia held down her head.
"It is not that speech of yesterday," he continued, "which moves
you. That is but the pretext, Amelia, or I have loved you and
watched you for fifteen years in vain. Have I not learned in that
time to read all your feelings and look into your thoughts? I know
what your heart is capable of: it can cling faithfully to a
recollection and cherish a fancy, but it can't feel such an
attachment as mine deserves to mate with, and such as I would have
won from a woman more generous than you. No, you are not worthy of
the love which I have devoted to you. I knew all along that the
prize I had set my life on was not worth the winning; that I was a
fool, with fond fancies, too, bartering away my all of truth and
ardour against your little feeble remnant of love. I will bargain
no more: I withdraw. I find no fault with you. You are very good-
natured, and have done your best, but you couldn't--you couldn't
reach up to the height of the attachment which I bore you, and which
a loftier soul than yours might have been proud to share. Good-bye,
Amelia! I have watched your struggle. Let it end. We are both
weary of it."
Amelia stood scared and silent as William thus suddenly broke the
chain by which she held him and declared his independence and
superiority. He had placed himself at her feet so long that the
poor little woman had been accustomed to trample upon him. She
didn't wish to marry him, but she wished to keep him. She wished to
give him nothing, but that he should give her all. It is a bargain
not unfrequently levied in love.
William's sally had quite broken and cast her down. HER assault was
long since over and beaten back.
"Am I to understand then, that you are going--away, William?" she
He gave a sad laugh. "I went once before," he said, "and came back
after twelve years. We were young then, Amelia. Good-bye. I have
spent enough of my life at this play."
Whilst they had been talking, the door into Mrs. Osborne's room had
opened ever so little; indeed, Becky had kept a hold of the handle
and had turned it on the instant when Dobbin quitted it, and she
heard every word of the conversation that had passed between these
two. "What a noble heart that man has," she thought, "and how
shamefully that woman plays with it!" She admired Dobbin; she bore
him no rancour for the part he had taken against her. It was an
open move in the game, and played fairly. "Ah!" she thought, "if I
could have had such a husband as that--a man with a heart and brains
too! I would not have minded his large feet"; and running into her
room, she absolutely bethought herself of something, and wrote him a
note, beseeching him to stop for a few days--not to think of going--
and that she could serve him with A.
The parting was over. Once more poor William walked to the door and
was gone; and the little widow, the author of all this work, had her
will, and had won her victory, and was left to enjoy it as she best
might. Let the ladies envy her triumph.
At the romantic hour of dinner, Mr. Georgy made his appearance and
again remarked the absence of "Old Dob." The meal was eaten in
silence by the party. Jos's appetite not being diminished, but Emmy
taking nothing at all.
After the meal, Georgy was lolling in the cushions of the old
window, a large window, with three sides of glass abutting from the
gable, and commanding on one side the market-place, where the
Elephant is, his mother being busy hard by, when he remarked
symptoms of movement at the Major's house on the other side of the
"Hullo!" said he, "there's Dob's trap--they are bringing it out of
the court-yard." The "trap" in question was a carriage which the
Major had bought for six pounds sterling, and about which they used
to rally him a good deal.
Emmy gave a little start, but said nothing.
"Hullo!" Georgy continued, "there's Francis coming out with the
portmanteaus, and Kunz, the one-eyed postilion, coming down the
market with three schimmels. Look at his boots and yellow jacket--
ain't he a rum one? Why--they're putting the horses to Dob's
carriage. Is he going anywhere?"
"Yes," said Emmy, "he is going on a journey."
"Going on a journey; and when is he coming back?"
"He is--not coming back," answered Emmy.
"Not coming back!" cried out Georgy, jumping up. "Stay here, sir,"
roared out Jos. "Stay, Georgy," said his mother with a very sad
face. The boy stopped, kicked about the room, jumped up and down
from the window-seat with his knees, and showed every symptom of
uneasiness and curiosity.
The horses were put to. The baggage was strapped on. Francis came
out with his master's sword, cane, and umbrella tied up together,
and laid them in the well, and his desk and old tin cocked-hat case,
which he placed under the seat. Francis brought out the stained old
blue cloak lined with red camlet, which had wrapped the owner up any
time these fifteen years, and had manchen Sturm erlebt, as a
favourite song of those days said. It had been new for the campaign
of Waterloo and had covered George and William after the night of
Old Burcke, the landlord of the lodgings, came out, then Francis,
with more packages--final packages--then Major William--Burcke
wanted to kiss him. The Major was adored by all people with whom he
had to do. It was with difficulty he could escape from this
demonstration of attachment.
"By Jove, I will go!" screamed out George. "Give him this," said
Becky, quite interested, and put a paper into the boy's hand. He
had rushed down the stairs and flung across the street in a minute--
the yellow postilion was cracking his whip gently.
William had got into the carriage, released from the embraces of his
landlord. George bounded in afterwards, and flung his arms round
the Major's neck (as they saw from the window), and began asking him
multiplied questions. Then he felt in his waistcoat pocket and gave
him a note. William seized at it rather eagerly, he opened it
trembling, but instantly his countenance changed, and he tore the
paper in two and dropped it out of the carriage. He kissed Georgy
on the head, and the boy got out, doubling his fists into his eyes,
and with the aid of Francis. He lingered with his hand on the
panel. Fort, Schwager! The yellow postilion cracked his whip
prodigiously, up sprang Francis to the box, away went the schimmels,
and Dobbin with his head on his breast. He never looked up as they
passed under Amelia's window, and Georgy, left alone in the street,
burst out crying in the face of all the crowd.
Emmy's maid heard him howling again during the night and brought him
some preserved apricots to console him. She mingled her
lamentations with his. All the poor, all the humble, all honest
folks, all good men who knew him, loved that kind-hearted and simple
As for Emmy, had she not done her duty? She had her picture of
George for a consolation.
Which Contains Births, Marriages, and Deaths
Whatever Becky's private plan might be by which Dobbin's true love
was to be crowned with success, the little woman thought that the
secret might keep, and indeed, being by no means so much interested
about anybody's welfare as about her own, she had a great number of
things pertaining to herself to consider, and which concerned her a
great deal more than Major Dobbin's happiness in this life.
She found herself suddenly and unexpectedly in snug comfortable
quarters, surrounded by friends, kindness, and good-natured simple
people such as she had not met with for many a long day; and,
wanderer as she was by force and inclination, there were moments
when rest was pleasant to her. As the most hardened Arab that ever
careered across the desert over the hump of a dromedary likes to
repose sometimes under the date-trees by the water, or to come into
the cities, walk into the bazaars, refresh himself in the baths, and
say his prayers in the mosques, before he goes out again marauding,
so Jos's tents and pilau were pleasant to this little Ishmaelite.
She picketed her steed, hung up her weapons, and warmed herself
comfortably by his fire. The halt in that roving, restless life was
inexpressibly soothing and pleasant to her.
So, pleased herself, she tried with all her might to please
everybody; and we know that she was eminent and successful as a
practitioner in the art of giving pleasure. As for Jos, even in
that little interview in the garret at the Elephant Inn, she had
found means to win back a great deal of his good-will. In the
course of a week, the civilian was her sworn slave and frantic
admirer. He didn't go to sleep after dinner, as his custom was in
the much less lively society of Amelia. He drove out with Becky in
his open carriage. He asked little parties and invented festivities
to do her honour.
Tapeworm, the Charge d'Affaires, who had abused her so cruelly, came
to dine with Jos, and then came every day to pay his respects to
Becky. Poor Emmy, who was never very talkative, and more glum and
silent than ever after Dobbin's departure, was quite forgotten when
this superior genius made her appearance. The French Minister was
as much charmed with her as his English rival. The German ladies,
never particularly squeamish as regards morals, especially in
English people, were delighted with the cleverness and wit of Mrs.
Osborne's charming friend, and though she did not ask to go to
Court, yet the most august and Transparent Personages there heard of
her fascinations and were quite curious to know her. When it became
known that she was noble, of an ancient English family, that her
husband was a Colonel of the Guard, Excellenz and Governor of an
island, only separated from his lady by one of those trifling
differences which are of little account in a country where Werther
is still read and the Wahlverwandtschaften of Goethe is considered
an edifying moral book, nobody thought of refusing to receive her in
the very highest society of the little Duchy; and the ladies were
even more ready to call her du and to swear eternal friendship for
her than they had been to bestow the same inestimable benefits upon
Amelia. Love and Liberty are interpreted by those simple Germans in
a way which honest folks in Yorkshire and Somersetshire little
understand, and a lady might, in some philosophic and civilized
towns, be divorced ever so many times from her respective husbands
and keep her character in society. Jos's house never was so
pleasant since he had a house of his own as Rebecca caused it to be.
She sang, she played, she laughed, she talked in two or three
languages, she brought everybody to the house, and she made Jos
believe that it was his own great social talents and wit which
gathered the society of the place round about him.
As for Emmy, who found herself not in the least mistress of her own
house, except when the bills were to be paid, Becky soon discovered
the way to soothe and please her. She talked to her perpetually
about Major Dobbin sent about his business, and made no scruple of
declaring her admiration for that excellent, high-minded gentleman,
and of telling Emmy that she had behaved most cruelly regarding him.
Emmy defended her conduct and showed that it was dictated only by
the purest religious principles; that a woman once, &c., and to such
an angel as him whom she had had the good fortune to marry, was
married forever; but she had no objection to hear the Major praised
as much as ever Becky chose to praise him, and indeed, brought the
conversation round to the Dobbin subject a score of times every day.
Means were easily found to win the favour of Georgy and the
servants. Amelia's maid, it has been said, was heart and soul in
favour of the generous Major. Having at first disliked Becky for
being the means of dismissing him from the presence of her mistress,
she was reconciled to Mrs. Crawley subsequently, because the latter
became William's most ardent admirer and champion. And in those
nightly conclaves in which the two ladies indulged after their
parties, and while Miss Payne was "brushing their 'airs," as she
called the yellow locks of the one and the soft brown tresses of the
other, this girl always put in her word for that dear good gentleman
Major Dobbin. Her advocacy did not make Amelia angry any more than
Rebecca's admiration of him. She made George write to him
constantly and persisted in sending Mamma's kind love in a
postscript. And as she looked at her husband's portrait of nights,
it no longer reproached her--perhaps she reproached it, now William
Emmy was not very happy after her heroic sacrifice. She was very
distraite, nervous, silent, and ill to please. The family had never
known her so peevish. She grew pale and ill. She used to try to
sing certain songs ("Einsam bin ich nicht alleine," was one of them,
that tender love-song of Weber's which in old-fashioned days, young
ladies, and when you were scarcely born, showed that those who lived
before you knew too how to love and to sing) certain songs, I say,
to which the Major was partial; and as she warbled them in the
twilight in the drawing-room, she would break off in the midst of
the song, and walk into her neighbouring apartment, and there, no
doubt, take refuge in the miniature of her husband.
Some books still subsisted, after Dobbin's departure, with his name
written in them; a German dictionary, for instance, with "William
Dobbin, --th Reg.," in the fly-leaf; a guide-book with his initials;
and one or two other volumes which belonged to the Major. Emmy
cleared these away and put them on the drawers, where she placed her
work-box, her desk, her Bible, and prayer-book, under the pictures
of the two Georges. And the Major, on going away, having left his
gloves behind him, it is a fact that Georgy, rummaging his mother's
desk some time afterwards, found the gloves neatly folded up and put
away in what they call the secret-drawers of the desk.
Not caring for society, and moping there a great deal, Emmy's chief
pleasure in the summer evenings was to take long walks with Georgy
(during which Rebecca was left to the society of Mr. Joseph), and
then the mother and son used to talk about the Major in a way which
even made the boy smile. She told him that she thought Major
William was the best man in all the world--the gentlest and the
kindest, the bravest and the humblest. Over and over again she told
him how they owed everything which they possessed in the world to
that kind friend's benevolent care of them; how he had befriended
them all through their poverty and misfortunes; watched over them
when nobody cared for them; how all his comrades admired him though
he never spoke of his own gallant actions; how Georgy's father
trusted him beyond all other men, and had been constantly befriended
by the good William. "Why, when your papa was a little boy," she
said, "he often told me that it was William who defended him against
a tyrant at the school where they were; and their friendship never
ceased from that day until the last, when your dear father fell."
"Did Dobbin kill the man who killed Papa?" Georgy said. "I'm sure
he did, or he would if he could have caught him, wouldn't he,
Mother? When I'm in the Army, won't I hate the French?--that's all."
In such colloquies the mother and the child passed a great deal of
their time together. The artless woman had made a confidant of the
boy. He was as much William's friend as everybody else who knew him
By the way, Mrs. Becky, not to be behind hand in sentiment, had got
a miniature too hanging up in her room, to the surprise and
amusement of most people, and the delight of the original, who was
no other than our friend Jos. On her first coming to favour the
Sedleys with a visit, the little woman, who had arrived with a
remarkably small shabby kit, was perhaps ashamed of the meanness of
her trunks and bandboxes, and often spoke with great respect about
her baggage left behind at Leipzig, which she must have from that
city. When a traveller talks to you perpetually about the splendour
of his luggage, which he does not happen to have with him, my son,
beware of that traveller! He is, ten to one, an impostor.
Neither Jos nor Emmy knew this important maxim. It seemed to them
of no consequence whether Becky had a quantity of very fine clothes
in invisible trunks; but as her present supply was exceedingly
shabby, Emmy supplied her out of her own stores, or took her to the
best milliner in the town and there fitted her out. It was no more
torn collars now, I promise you, and faded silks trailing off at the
shoulder. Becky changed her habits with her situation in life--the
rouge-pot was suspended--another excitement to which she had
accustomed herself was also put aside, or at least only indulged in
in privacy, as when she was prevailed on by Jos of a summer evening,
Emmy and the boy being absent on their walks, to take a little
spirit-and-water. But if she did not indulge--the courier did:
that rascal Kirsch could not be kept from the bottle, nor could he
tell how much he took when he applied to it. He was sometimes
surprised himself at the way in which Mr. Sedley's Cognac
diminished. Well, well, this is a painful subject. Becky did not
very likely indulge so much as she used before she entered a
At last the much-bragged-about boxes arrived from Leipzig; three of
them not by any means large or splendid; nor did Becky appear to
take out any sort of dresses or ornaments from the boxes when they
did arrive. But out of one, which contained a mass of her papers
(it was that very box which Rawdon Crawley had ransacked in his
furious hunt for Becky's concealed money), she took a picture with
great glee, which she pinned up in her room, and to which she
introduced Jos. It was the portrait of a gentleman in pencil, his
face having the advantage of being painted up in pink. He was
riding on an elephant away from some cocoa-nut trees and a pagoda:
it was an Eastern scene.
"God bless my soul, it is my portrait," Jos cried out. It was he
indeed, blooming in youth and beauty, in a nankeen jacket of the cut
of 1804. It was the old picture that used to hang up in Russell
"I bought it," said Becky in a voice trembling with emotion; "I went
to see if I could be of any use to my kind friends. I have never
parted with that picture--I never will."
"Won't you?" Jos cried with a look of unutterable rapture and
satisfaction. "Did you really now value it for my sake?"
"You know I did, well enough," said Becky; "but why speak--why
think--why look back! It is too late now!"
That evening's conversation was delicious for Jos. Emmy only came in
to go to bed very tired and unwell. Jos and his fair guest had a
charming tete-a-tete, and his sister could hear, as she lay awake in
her adjoining chamber, Rebecca singing over to Jos the old songs of
1815. He did not sleep, for a wonder, that night, any more than
It was June, and, by consequence, high season in London; Jos, who
read the incomparable Galignani (the exile's best friend) through
every day, used to favour the ladies with extracts from his paper
during their breakfast. Every week in this paper there is a full
account of military movements, in which Jos, as a man who had seen
service, was especially interested. On one occasion he read out--
"Arrival of the --th regiment. Gravesend, June 20.--The Ramchunder,
East Indiaman, came into the river this morning, having on board 14
officers, and 132 rank and file of this gallant corps. They have
been absent from England fourteen years, having been embarked the
year after Waterloo, in which glorious conflict they took an active
part, and having subsequently distinguished themselves in the
Burmese war. The veteran colonel, Sir Michael O'Dowd, K.C.B., with
his lady and sister, landed here yesterday, with Captains Posky,
Stubble, Macraw, Malony; Lieutenants Smith, Jones, Thompson, F.
Thomson; Ensigns Hicks and Grady; the band on the pier playing the
national anthem, and the crowd loudly cheering the gallant veterans
as they went into Wayte's hotel, where a sumptuous banquet was
provided for the defenders of Old England. During the repast, which
we need not say was served up in Wayte's best style, the cheering
continued so enthusiastically that Lady O'Dowd and the Colonel came
forward to the balcony and drank the healths of their fellow-
countrymen in a bumper of Wayte's best claret."
On a second occasion Jos read a brief announcement--Major Dobbin had
joined the --th regiment at Chatham; and subsequently he promulgated
accounts of the presentations at the Drawing-room of Colonel Sir
Michael O'Dowd, K.C.B., Lady O'Dowd (by Mrs. Malloy Malony of
Ballymalony), and Miss Glorvina O'Dowd (by Lady O'Dowd). Almost
directly after this, Dobbin's name appeared among the Lieutenant-
Colonels: for old Marshal Tiptoff had died during the passage of
the --th from Madras, and the Sovereign was pleased to advance
Colonel Sir Michael O'Dowd to the rank of Major-General on his
return to England, with an intimation that he should be Colonel of
the distinguished regiment which he had so long commanded.
Amelia had been made aware of some of these movements. The
correspondence between George and his guardian had not ceased by any
means: William had even written once or twice to her since his
departure, but in a manner so unconstrainedly cold that the poor
woman felt now in her turn that she had lost her power over him and
that, as he had said, he was free. He had left her, and she was
wretched. The memory of his almost countless services, and lofty
and affectionate regard, now presented itself to her and rebuked her
day and night. She brooded over those recollections according to
her wont, saw the purity and beauty of the affection with which she
had trifled, and reproached herself for having flung away such a
It was gone indeed. William had spent it all out. He loved her no
more, he thought, as he had loved her. He never could again. That
sort of regard, which he had proffered to her for so many faithful
years, can't be flung down and shattered and mended so as to show no
scars. The little heedless tyrant had so destroyed it. No, William
thought again and again, "It was myself I deluded and persisted in
cajoling; had she been worthy of the love I gave her, she would have
returned it long ago. It was a fond mistake. Isn't the whole
course of life made up of such? And suppose I had won her, should I
not have been disenchanted the day after my victory? Why pine, or be
ashamed of my defeat?" The more he thought of this long passage of
his life, the more clearly he saw his deception. "I'll go into
harness again," he said, "and do my duty in that state of life in
which it has pleased Heaven to place me. I will see that the
buttons of the recruits are properly bright and that the sergeants
make no mistakes in their accounts. I will dine at mess and listen
to the Scotch surgeon telling his stories. When I am old and
broken, I will go on half-pay, and my old sisters shall scold me. I
have geliebt und gelebet, as the girl in 'Wallenstein' says. I am
done. Pay the bills and get me a cigar: find out what there is at
the play to-night, Francis; to-morrow we cross by the Batavier." He
made the above speech, whereof Francis only heard the last two
lines, pacing up and down the Boompjes at Rotterdam. The Batavier
was lying in the basin. He could see the place on the quarter-deck
where he and Emmy had sat on the happy voyage out. What had that
little Mrs. Crawley to say to him? Psha; to-morrow we will put to
sea, and return to England, home, and duty!
After June all the little Court Society of Pumpernickel used to
separate, according to the German plan, and make for a hundred
watering-places, where they drank at the wells, rode upon donkeys,
gambled at the redoutes if they had money and a mind, rushed with
hundreds of their kind to gourmandise at the tables d'hote, and
idled away the summer. The English diplomatists went off to
Teoplitz and Kissingen, their French rivals shut up their
chancellerie and whisked away to their darling Boulevard de Gand.
The Transparent reigning family took too to the waters, or retired
to their hunting lodges. Everybody went away having any pretensions
to politeness, and of course, with them, Doctor von Glauber, the
Court Doctor, and his Baroness. The seasons for the baths were the
most productive periods of the Doctor's practice--he united business
with pleasure, and his chief place of resort was Ostend, which is
much frequented by Germans, and where the Doctor treated himself and
his spouse to what he called a "dib" in the sea.
His interesting patient, Jos, was a regular milch-cow to the Doctor,
and he easily persuaded the civilian, both for his own health's sake
and that of his charming sister, which was really very much
shattered, to pass the summer at that hideous seaport town. Emmy
did not care where she went much. Georgy jumped at the idea of a
move. As for Becky, she came as a matter of course in the fourth
place inside of the fine barouche Mr. Jos had bought, the two
domestics being on the box in front. She might have some misgivings
about the friends whom she should meet at Ostend, and who might be
likely to tell ugly stories--but bah! she was strong enough to hold
her own. She had cast such an anchor in Jos now as would require a
strong storm to shake. That incident of the picture had finished
him. Becky took down her elephant and put it into the little box
which she had had from Amelia ever so many years ago. Emmy also
came off with her Lares--her two pictures--and the party, finally,
were, lodged in an exceedingly dear and uncomfortable house at
There Amelia began to take baths and get what good she could from
them, and though scores of people of Becky's acquaintance passed her
and cut her, yet Mrs. Osborne, who walked about with her, and who
knew nobody, was not aware of the treatment experienced by the
friend whom she had chosen so judiciously as a companion; indeed,
Becky never thought fit to tell her what was passing under her
Some of Mrs. Rawdon Crawley's acquaintances, however, acknowledged
her readily enough,--perhaps more readily than she would have
desired. Among those were Major Loder (unattached), and Captain
Rook (late of the Rifles), who might be seen any day on the Dike,
smoking and staring at the women, and who speedily got an
introduction to the hospitable board and select circle of Mr. Joseph
Sedley. In fact they would take no denial; they burst into the
house whether Becky was at home or not, walked into Mrs. Osborne's
drawing-room, which they perfumed with their coats and mustachios,
called Jos "Old buck," and invaded his dinner-table, and laughed and
drank for long hours there.
"What can they mean?" asked Georgy, who did not like these
gentlemen. "I heard the Major say to Mrs. Crawley yesterday, 'No,
no, Becky, you shan't keep the old buck to yourself. We must have
the bones in, or, dammy, I'll split.' What could the Major mean,
"Major! don't call him Major!" Emmy said. "I'm sure I can't tell
what he meant." His presence and that of his friend inspired the
little lady with intolerable terror and aversion. They paid her
tipsy compliments; they leered at her over the dinner-table. And
the Captain made her advances that filled her with sickening dismay,
nor would she ever see him unless she had George by her side.
Rebecca, to do her justice, never would let either of these men
remain alone with Amelia; the Major was disengaged too, and swore he
would be the winner of her. A couple of ruffians were fighting for
this innocent creature, gambling for her at her own table, and
though she was not aware of the rascals' designs upon her, yet she
felt a horror and uneasiness in their presence and longed to fly.
She besought, she entreated Jos to go. Not he. He was slow of
movement, tied to his Doctor, and perhaps to some other leading-
strings. At least Becky was not anxious to go to England.
At last she took a great resolution--made the great plunge. She
wrote off a letter to a friend whom she had on the other side of the
water, a letter about which she did not speak a word to anybody,
which she carried herself to the post under her shawl; nor was any
remark made about it, only that she looked very much flushed and
agitated when Georgy met her, and she kissed him, and hung over him
a great deal that night. She did not come out of her room after her
return from her walk. Becky thought it was Major Loder and the
Captain who frightened her.
"She mustn't stop here," Becky reasoned with herself. "She must go
away, the silly little fool. She is still whimpering after that
gaby of a husband--dead (and served right!) these fifteen years.
She shan't marry either of these men. It's too bad of Loder. No;
she shall marry the bamboo cane, I'll settle it this very night."
So Becky took a cup of tea to Amelia in her private apartment and
found that lady in the company of her miniatures, and in a most
melancholy and nervous condition. She laid down the cup of tea.
"Thank you," said Amelia.
"Listen to me, Amelia," said Becky, marching up and down the room
before the other and surveying her with a sort of contemptuous
kindness. "I want to talk to you. You must go away from here and
from the impertinences of these men. I won't have you harassed by
them: and they will insult you if you stay. I tell you they are
rascals: men fit to send to the hulks. Never mind how I know them.
I know everybody. Jos can't protect you; he is too weak and wants a
protector himself. You are no more fit to live in the world than a
baby in arms. You must marry, or you and your precious boy will go
to ruin. You must have a husband, you fool; and one of the best
gentlemen I ever saw has offered you a hundred times, and you have
rejected him, you silly, heartless, ungrateful little creature!"
"I tried--I tried my best, indeed I did, Rebecca," said Amelia
deprecatingly, "but I couldn't forget--"; and she finished the
sentence by looking up at the portrait.
"Couldn't forget HIM!" cried out Becky, "that selfish humbug, that
low-bred cockney dandy, that padded booby, who had neither wit, nor
manners, nor heart, and was no more to be compared to your friend
with the bamboo cane than you are to Queen Elizabeth. Why, the man
was weary of you, and would have jilted you, but that Dobbin forced
him to keep his word. He owned it to me. He never cared for you.
He used to sneer about you to me, time after time, and made love to
me the week after he married you."
"It's false! It's false! Rebecca," cried out Amelia, starting up.
"Look there, you fool," Becky said, still with provoking good
humour, and taking a little paper out of her belt, she opened it and
flung it into Emmy's lap. "You know his handwriting. He wrote that
to me--wanted me to run away with him--gave it me under your nose,
the day before he was shot--and served him right!" Becky repeated.
Emmy did not hear her; she was looking at the letter. It was that
which George had put into the bouquet and given to Becky on the
night of the Duchess of Richmond's ball. It was as she said: the
foolish young man had asked her to fly.
Emmy's head sank down, and for almost the last time in which she
shall be called upon to weep in this history, she commenced that
work. Her head fell to her bosom, and her hands went up to her
eyes; and there for a while, she gave way to her emotions, as Becky
stood on and regarded her. Who shall analyse those tears and say
whether they were sweet or bitter? Was she most grieved because the
idol of her life was tumbled down and shivered at her feet, or
indignant that her love had been so despised, or glad because the
barrier was removed which modesty had placed between her and a new,
a real affection? "There is nothing to forbid me now," she thought.
"I may love him with all my heart now. Oh, I will, I will, if he
will but let me and forgive me." I believe it was this feeling
rushed over all the others which agitated that gentle little bosom.
Indeed, she did not cry so much as Becky expected--the other soothed
and kissed her--a rare mark of sympathy with Mrs. Becky. She
treated Emmy like a child and patted her head. "And now let us get
pen and ink and write to him to come this minute," she said.
"I--I wrote to him this morning," Emmy said, blushing exceedingly.
Becky screamed with laughter--"Un biglietto," she sang out with
Rosina, "eccolo qua!"--the whole house echoed with her shrill
Two mornings after this little scene, although the day was rainy and
gusty, and Amelia had had an exceedingly wakeful night, listening to
the wind roaring, and pitying all travellers by land and by water,
yet she got up early and insisted upon taking a walk on the Dike
with Georgy; and there she paced as the rain beat into her face, and
she looked out westward across the dark sea line and over the
swollen billows which came tumbling and frothing to the shore.
Neither spoke much, except now and then, when the boy said a few
words to his timid companion, indicative of sympathy and protection.
"I hope he won't cross in such weather," Emmy said.
"I bet ten to one he does," the boy answered. "Look, Mother,
there's the smoke of the steamer." It was that signal, sure enough.
But though the steamer was under way, he might not be on board; he
might not have got the letter; he might not choose to come. A
hundred fears poured one over the other into the little heart, as
fast as the waves on to the Dike.
The boat followed the smoke into sight. Georgy had a dandy
telescope and got the vessel under view in the most skilful manner.
And he made appropriate nautical comments upon the manner of the
approach of the steamer as she came nearer and nearer, dipping and
rising in the water. The signal of an English steamer in sight went
fluttering up to the mast on the pier. I daresay Mrs. Amelia's
heart was in a similar flutter.
Emmy tried to look through the telescope over George's shoulder, but
she could make nothing of it. She only saw a black eclipse bobbing
up and down before her eyes.
George took the glass again and raked the vessel. "How she does
pitch!" he said. "There goes a wave slap over her bows. There's
only two people on deck besides the steersman. There's a man lying
down, and a--chap in a--cloak with a--Hooray!--it's Dob, by Jingo!"
He clapped to the telescope and flung his arms round his mother. As
for that lady, let us say what she did in the words of a favourite
poet--"Dakruoen gelasasa." She was sure it was William. It could be
no other. What she had said about hoping that he would not come was
all hypocrisy. Of course he would come; what could he do else but
come? She knew he would come.
The ship came swiftly nearer and nearer. As they went in to meet
her at the landing-place at the quay, Emmy's knees trembled so that
she scarcely could run. She would have liked to kneel down and say
her prayers of thanks there. Oh, she thought, she would be all her
life saying them!
It was such a bad day that as the vessel came alongside of the quay
there were no idlers abroad, scarcely even a commissioner on the
look out for the few passengers in the steamer. That young
scapegrace George had fled too, and as the gentleman in the old
cloak lined with red stuff stepped on to the shore, there was
scarcely any one present to see what took place, which was briefly
A lady in a dripping white bonnet and shawl, with her two little
hands out before her, went up to him, and in the next minute she had
altogether disappeared under the folds of the old cloak, and was
kissing one of his hands with all her might; whilst the other, I
suppose, was engaged in holding her to his heart (which her head
just about reached) and in preventing her from tumbling down. She
was murmuring something about--forgive--dear William--dear, dear,
dearest friend--kiss, kiss, kiss, and so forth--and in fact went on
under the cloak in an absurd manner.
When Emmy emerged from it, she still kept tight hold of one of
William's hands, and looked up in his face. It was full of sadness
and tender love and pity. She understood its reproach and hung down
"It was time you sent for me, dear Amelia," he said.
"You will never go again, William?"
"No, never," he answered, and pressed the dear little soul once more
to his heart.
As they issued out of the custom-house precincts, Georgy broke out
on them, with his telescope up to his eye, and a loud laugh of
welcome; he danced round the couple and performed many facetious
antics as he led them up to the house. Jos wasn't up yet; Becky not
visible (though she looked at them through the blinds). Georgy ran
off to see about breakfast. Emmy, whose shawl and bonnet were off
in the passage in the hands of Mrs. Payne, now went to undo the
clasp of William's cloak, and--we will, if you please, go with
George, and look after breakfast for the Colonel. The vessel is in
port. He has got the prize he has been trying for all his life. The
bird has come in at last. There it is with its head on his
shoulder, billing and cooing close up to his heart, with soft
outstretched fluttering wings. This is what he has asked for every
day and hour for eighteen years. This is what he pined after. Here
it is--the summit, the end--the last page of the third volume.
Good-bye, Colonel--God bless you, honest William!--Farewell, dear
Amelia--Grow green again, tender little parasite, round the rugged
old oak to which you cling!
Perhaps it was compunction towards the kind and simple creature, who
had been the first in life to defend her, perhaps it was a dislike
to all such sentimental scenes--but Rebecca, satisfied with her part
in the transaction, never presented herself before Colonel Dobbin
and the lady whom he married. "Particular business," she said, took
her to Bruges, whither she went, and only Georgy and his uncle were
present at the marriage ceremony. When it was over, and Georgy had
rejoined his parents, Mrs. Becky returned (just for a few days) to
comfort the solitary bachelor, Joseph Sedley. He preferred a
continental life, he said, and declined to join in housekeeping with
his sister and her husband.
Emmy was very glad in her heart to think that she had written to her
husband before she read or knew of that letter of George's. "I knew
it all along," William said; "but could I use that weapon against
the poor fellow's memory? It was that which made me suffer so when
"Never speak of that day again," Emmy cried out, so contrite and
humble that William turned off the conversation by his account of
Glorvina and dear old Peggy O'Dowd, with whom he was sitting when
the letter of recall reached him. "If you hadn't sent for me," he
added with a laugh, "who knows what Glorvina's name might be now?"
At present it is Glorvina Posky (now Mrs. Major Posky); she took him
on the death of his first wife, having resolved never to marry out
of the regiment. Lady O'Dowd is also so attached to it that, she
says, if anything were to happen to Mick, bedad she'd come back and
marry some of 'em. But the Major-General is quite well and lives in
great splendour at O'Dowdstown, with a pack of beagles, and (with
the exception of perhaps their neighbour, Hoggarty of Castle
Hoggarty) he is the first man of his county. Her Ladyship still
dances jigs, and insisted on standing up with the Master of the
Horse at the Lord Lieutenant's last ball. Both she and Glorvina
declared that Dobbin had used the latter SHEAMFULLY, but Posky
falling in, Glorvina was consoled, and a beautiful turban from Paris
appeased the wrath of Lady O'Dowd.
When Colonel Dobbin quitted the service, which he did immediately
after his marriage, he rented a pretty little country place in
Hampshire, not far from Queen's Crawley, where, after the passing of
the Reform Bill, Sir Pitt and his family constantly resided now.
All idea of a Peerage was out of the question, the Baronet's two
seats in Parliament being lost. He was both out of pocket and out
of spirits by that catastrophe, failed in his health, and prophesied
the speedy ruin of the Empire.
Lady Jane and Mrs. Dobbin became great friends--there was a
perpetual crossing of pony-chaises between the Hall and the
Evergreens, the Colonel's place (rented of his friend Major Ponto,
who was abroad with his family). Her Ladyship was godmother to Mrs.
Dobbin's child, which bore her name, and was christened by the Rev.
James Crawley, who succeeded his father in the living: and a pretty
close friendship subsisted between the two lads, George and Rawdon,
who hunted and shot together in the vacations, were both entered of
the same college at Cambridge, and quarrelled with each other about
Lady Jane's daughter, with whom they were both, of course, in love.
A match between George and that young lady was long a favourite
scheme of both the matrons, though I have heard that Miss Crawley
herself inclined towards her cousin.
Mrs. Rawdon Crawley's name was never mentioned by either family.
There were reasons why all should be silent regarding her. For
wherever Mr. Joseph Sedley went, she travelled likewise, and that
infatuated man seemed to be entirely her slave. The Colonel's
lawyers informed him that his brother-in-law had effected a heavy
insurance upon his life, whence it was probable that he had been
raising money to discharge debts. He procured prolonged leave of
absence from the East India House, and indeed, his infirmities were
On hearing the news about the insurance, Amelia, in a good deal of
alarm, entreated her husband to go to Brussels, where Jos then was,
and inquire into the state of his affairs. The Colonel quitted home
with reluctance (for he was deeply immersed in his History of the
Punjaub which still occupies him, and much alarmed about his little
daughter, whom he idolizes, and who was just recovering from the
chicken-pox) and went to Brussels and found Jos living at one of the
enormous hotels in that city. Mrs. Crawley, who had her carriage,
gave entertainments, and lived in a very genteel manner, occupied
another suite of apartments in the same hotel.
The Colonel, of course, did not desire to see that lady, or even
think proper to notify his arrival at Brussels, except privately to
Jos by a message through his valet. Jos begged the Colonel to come
and see him that night, when Mrs. Crawley would be at a soiree, and
when they could meet alone. He found his brother-in-law in a
condition of pitiable infirmity--and dreadfully afraid of Rebecca,
though eager in his praises of her. She tended him through a series
of unheard-of illnesses with a fidelity most admirable. She had
been a daughter to him. "But--but--oh, for God's sake, do come and
live near me, and--and--see me sometimes," whimpered out the
The Colonel's brow darkened at this. "We can't, Jos," he said.
"Considering the circumstances, Amelia can't visit you."
"I swear to you--I swear to you on the Bible," gasped out Joseph,
wanting to kiss the book, "that she is as innocent as a child, as
spotless as your own wife."
"It may be so," said the Colonel gloomily, "but Emmy can't come to
you. Be a man, Jos: break off this disreputable connection. Come
home to your family. We hear your affairs are involved."
"Involved!" cried Jos. "Who has told such calumnies? All my money
is placed out most advantageously. Mrs. Crawley--that is--I mean--
it is laid out to the best interest."
"You are not in debt, then? Why did you insure your life?"
"I thought--a little present to her--in case anything happened; and
you know my health is so delicate--common gratitude you know--and I
intend to leave all my money to you--and I can spare it out of my
income, indeed I can," cried out William's weak brother-in-law.
The Colonel besought Jos to fly at once--to go back to India,
whither Mrs. Crawley could not follow him; to do anything to break
off a connection which might have the most fatal consequences to
Jos clasped his hands and cried, "He would go back to India. He
would do anything, only he must have time: they mustn't say anything
to Mrs. Crawley--she'd--she'd kill me if she knew it. You don't
know what a terrible woman she is," the poor wretch said.
"Then, why not come away with me?" said Dobbin in reply; but Jos had
not the courage. "He would see Dobbin again in the morning; he must
on no account say that he had been there. He must go now. Becky
might come in." And Dobbin quitted him, full of forebodings.
He never saw Jos more. Three months afterwards Joseph Sedley died
at Aix-la-Chapelle. It was found that all his property had been
muddled away in speculations, and was represented by valueless
shares in different bubble companies. All his available assets were
the two thousand pounds for which his life was insured, and which
were left equally between his beloved "sister Amelia, wife of, &c.,
and his friend and invaluable attendant during sickness, Rebecca,
wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Rawdon Crawley, C.B.," who was appointed
The solicitor of the insurance company swore it was the blackest
case that ever had come before him, talked of sending a commission
to Aix to examine into the death, and the Company refused payment of
the policy. But Mrs., or Lady Crawley, as she styled herself, came
to town at once (attended with her solicitors, Messrs. Burke,
Thurtell, and Hayes, of Thavies Inn) and dared the Company to refuse
the payment. They invited examination, they declared that she was
the object of an infamous conspiracy, which had been pursuing her
all through life, and triumphed finally. The money was paid, and
her character established, but Colonel Dobbin sent back his share of
the legacy to the insurance office and rigidly declined to hold any
communication with Rebecca.
She never was Lady Crawley, though she continued so to call herself.
His Excellency Colonel Rawdon Crawley died of yellow fever at
Coventry Island, most deeply beloved and deplored, and six weeks
before the demise of his brother, Sir Pitt. The estate consequently
devolved upon the present Sir Rawdon Crawley, Bart.
He, too, has declined to see his mother, to whom he makes a liberal
allowance, and who, besides, appears to be very wealthy. The
Baronet lives entirely at Queen's Crawley, with Lady Jane and her
daughter, whilst Rebecca, Lady Crawley, chiefly hangs about Bath and
Cheltenham, where a very strong party of excellent people consider
her to be a most injured woman. She has her enemies. Who has not?
Her life is her answer to them. She busies herself in works of
piety. She goes to church, and never without a footman. Her name
is in all the Charity Lists. The destitute orange-girl, the
neglected washerwoman, the distressed muffin-man find in her a fast
and generous friend. She is always having stalls at Fancy Fairs for
the benefit of these hapless beings. Emmy, her children, and the
Colonel, coming to London some time back, found themselves suddenly
before her at one of these fairs. She cast down her eyes demurely
and smiled as they started away from her; Emmy scurrying off on the
arm of George (now grown a dashing young gentleman) and the Colonel
seizing up his little Janey, of whom he is fonder than of anything
in the world--fonder even than of his History of the Punjaub.
"Fonder than he is of me," Emmy thinks with a sigh But he never said
a word to Amelia that was not kind and gentle, or thought of a want
of hers that he did not try to gratify.
Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! which of us is happy in this world? Which
of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?--come, children,
let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.