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restrain his laughter as he saw the Lieutenant's entire discomfiture; the start he gave, the pause, and the perfect clumsiness with which he at length condescended to take the finger which was offered for his embrace.
"She'd beat the devil, by Jove !" the Captain said, in a rapture; and the Lieutenant, by way of beginning the conversation, agreeably asked Rebecca how she liked her new place.
"My place?" said Miss Sharp, coolly, "how kind of you to remind me of it! It's a tolerably good place: the wages are pretty good-not so good as Miss Wirt's, I believe, with your sisters in Russell Square. How are those young ladies ?-not that I ought to ask.”
"Why not?" Mr. Osborne said, amazed.
"Why, they never condescended to speak to me, or to ask me into their house, whilst I was staying with Amelia ; but we poor governesses, you know, are used to slights of this sort.”
"My dear Miss Sharp!" Osborne ejaculated.
“At least in some families,” Rebecca continued. "You can't think what a difference there is though, we are not so wealthy in Hampshire as you lucky folks of the City. But then I am in a gentleman's family-good old English stock. I suppose you know Sir Pitt's father refused a peerage. And you see how I am treated. I am pretty comfortable. Indeed it is rather a good place. But how z'cry' good of you to inquire !"
Osborne was quite savage The little governess patronised him and persiffléd him until this young British Lion felt quite uneasy; nor could he muster sufficient presence of mind to find a pretext for backing out of this most delectable conversation.
“I thought you liked the City families pretty well,” he said, haughtily.
“Last year you mean, when I was fresh from that horrid vulgar school? Of course I did. Doesn't every girl like to come home for the holidays? And how was I to know any better? But oh, Mr. Osborne, what a difference eighteen months' experience makes !-eighteen months spent, pardon me for saying so, with gentlemen. As for dear Amelia, she
I grant you, is a pearl, and would be charming anywhere. There now, I see you are beginning to be in a good humour; but oh these queer odd City people! And Mr. Jos-how is that wonderful Mr. Joseph ?"
"It seems to me you didn't dislike that wonderful Mr. Joseph last year," Osborne said kindly.
“How severe of you! Well, entre nous, I didn't break my heart about him; yet if he had asked me to do what you mean by your looks (and very expressive and kind they are, too), I wouldn't have said no."
Mr. Osborne gave a look as much as to say, “Indeed, how very obliging !”
"What an honour to have had you for a brother-in-law, you are thinking? To be sister-in-law to George Osborne, Esquire, son of John Osborne, Esquire, son of-what was your grandpapa, Mr. Osborne? Well, don't be angry. You can't help your pedigree, and I quite agree with you that I would have married Mr. Joe Sedley; for could a poor penniless girl do better? Now you know the whole secret. I'm frank and open; considering all things, it was very kind of you to allude to the circumstance-very kind and polite. Amelia, dear, Mr. Osborne and I were talking about your brother Joseph. How is he?"
Thus was George utterly routed. Not that Rebecca was in the right; but she had managed most successfully to put him in the wrong. And he now shamefully Aled, feeling, if he stayed another minute, that he would have been made to look foolish in the presence of Amelia.
Though Rebecca had had the better of him, George was above the meanness of tale-bearing or revenge upon a lady, -only he could not help cleverly confiding to Captain Crawley, next day, some notions of his regarding Miss Rebecca—that she was a sharp one, a dangerous one, a desperate flirt, &c.; in all of which opinions Crawley agreed laughingly, and with every one of which Miss Rebecca was made acquainted before twenty-four hours were over. They added to her original regard for Mr. Osborne. Her woman's instinct had told her, that it was George who had interrupted the success of her first love-passage, and she esteemed him accordingly.
"I only just warn you," he said to Rawdon Crawley, with a knowing look--he had bought the horse, and lost some score of guineas after dinner, “I just warn you-I know women, and counsel you to be on the look-out."
"Thank you, my boy," said Crawley, with a look of peculiar gratitude. "You're wide awake, I see." And George went off, thinking Crawley was quite right.
He told Amelia of what he had done, and how he had counselled Rawdon Crawley--a devilish good, straight-forward fellow-to be on his guard against that little sly, scheming Rebecca.
"Against whom?" Amelia cried. "Your friend the governess.-Don't look so astonished."
"O George, what have you done?" Amelia said. For her woman's eyes, which Love had made sharp-sighted, had in one instant discovered a secret which was invisible to Miss Crawley, to poor virgin Briggs, and above all, to the stupid peepers of that young whiskered prig, Lieutenant Osborne.
For as Rebecca was shawling her in an upper apartment, where these two friends had an opportunity for a little of that secret talking and conspiring which forms the delight of female life, Amelia, coming up to Rebecca, and taking her two little hands in hiers, said, “Rebecca, I sce it all."
Rebecca kissed her.
And regarding this delightful secret, not onc syllable more was said hy either of the young women. But it was (lestined to come out before long.
Some short period after the above events, and Miss Rebecca Sharp still remaining at her patroness's house in Park Lane, one more hatchment might have been seen in Great Gaunt Street, figuring amongst the many which usually ornament that dismal quarter. It was over Sir Pitt Crawley's house; but it did not indicate the worthy baronet's demise. It was a feminine hatchment, and indeed a few years back had served as a funeral compliment to Sir Pitt's old mother, the late dowager Lady Crawley. Its period of service over, the hatchment had come down from the front of the house, and lived in retirement somewhere in the back premises of Sir Pitt's mansion.
appeared now for poor Rose Dawson. Sir Pitt was a widower again. The arms quartered on the shield along with his own were not, to be sure, poor Rose's. She had no arms. But the cherubs painted on the scutcheon answered as well for her as for Sir Pitt's mother, and Resurgam was written under the coat, flanked by the Crawley Dove and Serpent. Arms and Hatchments, Resurgam.--Here is an opportunity for moralising !
Mr. Crawley had tended that otherwise friendless bedside. She went out of the world strengthened by such words and comfort as he could give her. For many years his was the only kindness she ever knew; the only friendship that solaced in any way that feeble, lonely soul. Her heart was dead long before her body. She had sold it to become Sir Pitt Crawley's wife. Mothers and daughters are making the same bargain every day in Vanity Fair.
When the demise took place, her husband was in London attending to some of his innumerable schemes, and busy with his cndless lawyers. He had found time, nevertheless, to call often in Park Lane, and to despatch many notes to Rebecca, entreating her, enjoining her, commanding her to return to her young pupils in the country, who were now utterly without companionship during their mother's illness. But Miss Crawley would not hear of her departure; for though there was no lady of fashion in London who would desert her friends more complacently as soon as she was tired of their society, and though few tired of them sooner, yet as long as her cngoament lasted her attachment was prodigious, and she clung still with the greatest energy to Rebecca.
The news of Lady Crawley's death provoked no more grief or comment than might have been expected in Miss Crawley's family circle. "I suppose I must put off my party for the 3rd,” Miss Crawley said; and added, after a pause, "I hope my brother will have the decency not to marry again.” “What a confounded rage Pitt will be in if he does,” Rawdon remarked, with his usual regard for his elder brother. Rebecca said nothing. She seemed by far the gravest and most impressed of the family. She left the room before Rawdon went away that day; but they met by chance below, as he was going away after taking leave, and had a parley together.
On the morrow, as Rebecca was gazing from the window, she startled Miss Crawley, who was placidly occupied with a French novel, by crying out in an alarmed tone, “Here's Sir Pitt, Ma'am!" and the Baronet's knock followed this announcement.
"My dear, I can't see him. I won't see him. Tell Bowls not at home, or go downstairs and say I'm too ill to receive any one. My nerves really won't bear my brother at this moment;" cried out Miss Crawley, and resumed the novel.
"She's too ill to see you, sir," Rebecca said, tripping down to Sir Pitt, who was preparing to ascend.
"So much the better," Sir Pitt answered. "I want to see you, Miss Becky. Come along a me into the parlour," and they entered that apartment together.
"I wawnt you back at Queen's Crawley, Miss," the baronet said, fixing his eyes upon her, and taking off his black gloves and his hat with its great crape hat-band. His eyes had such a strange look, and fixed upon her so steadfastly, that Rebecca Sharp began almost to tremble.
“I hope to come soon,” she said in a low voice, "as soon as Miss Crawley is better—and return to-to the dear children.”
"You've said so these three months, Becky,” replied Sir Pitt, "and still you go hanging on to my sister, who'll fling you off like an old shoe, when she's wore you out. I tell you I want you. I'm going back to the Vuneral. Will you come back? Yes or no?"
"I daren't–I don't think-it would be right-to be alone -with you, sir,” Becky said, seemingly in great agitation.
"I say agin, I want you," Sir Pitt said, thumping the table. "I can't git on without you. I didn't see what it was till you went away. The house all goes wrong.
It's not the same place. All my accounts has got muddled agin. You must come back. Do come back. Dear Becky, do come back.”
“Come—as what, sir ?” Rebecca gasped out.
"Come as Lady Crawley, if you like," the Baronet said, grasping his crape hat. “There! will that zatusfy you? Come back and be my wife. You're vit vor't. Birth be hanged. You're as good a lady as ever I see. You've got