cordiality seldom exhibited by him. Rawdon passed his hand over his
shaggy eyebrows. "Thank you, brother," said he. "I know I can trust
"I will, upon my honour," the Baronet said. And thus, and almost
mutely, this bargain was struck between them.
Then Rawdon took out of his pocket the little pocket-book which he
had discovered in Becky's desk, and from which he drew a bundle of
the notes which it contained. "Here's six hundred," he said - "you
didn't know I was so rich. I want you to give the money to Briggs,
who lent it to us - and who was kind to the boy - and I've always felt
ashamed of having taken the poor old woman's money. And here's some
more - I've only kept back a few pounds - which Becky may as well
have, to get on with." As he spoke he took hold of the other notes
to give to his brother, but his hands shook, and he was so agitated
that the pocket-book fell from him, and out of it the thousand-pound
note which had been the last of the unlucky Becky's winnings.
Pitt stooped and picked them up, amazed at so much wealth. "Not
that," Rawdon said. "I hope to put a bullet into the man whom that
belongs to." He had thought to himself, it would be a fine revenge
to wrap a ball in the note and kill Steyne with it.
After this colloquy the brothers once more shook hands and parted.
Lady Jane had heard of the Colonel's arrival, and was waiting for
her husband in the adjoining dining-room, with female instinct,
auguring evil. The door of the dining-room happened to be left
open, and the lady of course was issuing from it as the two brothers
passed out of the study. She held out her hand to Rawdon and said
she was glad he was come to breakfast, though she could perceive, by
his haggard unshorn face and the dark looks of her husband, that
there was very little question of breakfast between them. Rawdon
muttered some excuses about an engagement, squeezing hard the timid
little hand which his sister-in-law reached out to him. Her
imploring eyes could read nothing but calamity in his face, but he
went away without another word. Nor did Sir Pitt vouchsafe her any
explanation. The children came up to salute him, and he kissed them
in his usual frigid manner. The mother took both of them close to
herself, and held a hand of each of them as they knelt down to
prayers, which Sir Pitt read to them, and to the servants in their
Sunday suits or liveries, ranged upon chairs on the other side of
the hissing tea-urn. Breakfast was so late that day, in consequence
of the delays which had occurred, that the church-bells began to
ring whilst they were sitting over their meal; and Lady Jane was too
ill, she said, to go to church, though her thoughts had been
entirely astray during the period of family devotion.
Rawdon Crawley meanwhile hurried on from Great Gaunt Street, and
knocking at the great bronze Medusa's head which stands on the
portal of Gaunt House, brought out the purple Silenus in a red and
silver waistcoat who acts as porter of that palace. The man was
scared also by the Colonel's dishevelled appearance, and barred the
way as if afraid that the other was going to force it. But Colonel
Crawley only took out a card and enjoined him particularly to send
it in to Lord Steyne, and to mark the address written on it, and say
that Colonel Crawley would be all day after one o'clock at the
Regent Club in St. James's Street - not at home. The fat red-faced
man looked after him with astonishment as he strode away; so did the
people in their Sunday clothes who were out so early; the charity-
boys with shining faces, the greengrocer lolling at his door, and
the publican shutting his shutters in the sunshine, against service
commenced. The people joked at the cab-stand about his appearance,
as he took a carriage there, and told the driver to drive him to
All the bells were jangling and tolling as he reached that place.
He might have seen his old acquaintance Amelia on her way from
Brompton to Russell Square, had he been looking out. Troops of
schools were on their march to church, the shiny pavement and
outsides of coaches in the suburbs were thronged with people out
upon their Sunday pleasure; but the Colonel was much too busy to
take any heed of these phenomena, and, arriving at Knightsbridge,
speedily made his way up to the room of his old friend and comrade
Captain Macmurdo, who Crawley found, to his satisfaction, was in
Captain Macmurdo, a veteran officer and Waterloo man, greatly liked
by his regiment, in which want of money alone prevented him from
attaining the highest ranks, was enjoying the forenoon calmly in
bed. He had been at a fast supper-party, given the night before by
Captain the Honourable George Cinqbars, at his house in Brompton
Square, to several young men of the regiment, and a number of ladies
of the corps de ballet, and old Mac, who was at home with people of
all ages and ranks, and consorted with generals, dog-fanciers,
opera-dancers, bruisers, and every kind of person, in a word, was
resting himself after the night's labours, and, not being on duty,
was in bed.
His room was hung round with boxing, sporting, and dancing pictures,
presented to him by comrades as they retired from the regiment, and
married and settled into quiet life. And as he was now nearly fifty
years of age, twenty-four of which he had passed in the corps, he
had a singular museum. He was one of the best shots in England,
and, for a heavy man, one of the best riders; indeed, he and Crawley
had been rivals when the latter was in the Army. To be brief, Mr.
Macmurdo was lying in bed, reading in Bell's Life an account of that
very fight between the Tutbury Pet and the Barking Butcher, which
has been before mentioned - a venerable bristly warrior, with a
little close-shaved grey head, with a silk nightcap, a red face and
nose, and a great dyed moustache.
When Rawdon told the Captain he wanted a friend, the latter knew
perfectly well on what duty of friendship he was called to act, and
indeed had conducted scores of affairs for his acquaintances with
the greatest prudence and skill. His Royal Highness the late
lamented Commander-in-Chief had had the greatest regard for Macmurdo
on this account, and he was the common refuge of gentlemen in
"What's the row about, Crawley, my boy?" said the old warrior. "No
more gambling business, hay, like that when we shot Captain Marker?"
"It's about - about my wife," Crawley answered, casting down his eyes
and turning very red.
The other gave a whistle. "I always said she'd throw you over," he
began - indeed there were bets in the regiment and at the clubs
regarding the probable fate of Colonel Crawley, so lightly was his
wife's character esteemed by his comrades and the world; but seeing
the savage look with which Rawdon answered the expression of this
opinion, Macmurdo did not think fit to enlarge upon it further.
"Is there no way out of it, old boy?" the Captain continued in a
grave tone. "Is it only suspicion, you know, or - or what is it? Any
letters? Can't you keep it quiet? Best not make any noise about a
thing of that sort if you can help it." "Think of his only finding
her out now," the Captain thought to himself, and remembered a
hundred particular conversations at the mess-table, in which Mrs.
Crawley's reputation had been torn to shreds.
"There's no way but one out of it," Rawdon replied - "and there's
only a way out of it for one of us, Mac - do you understand? I was
put out of the way - arrested - I found 'em alone together. I told
him he was a liar and a coward, and knocked him down and thrashed
"Serve him right," Macmurdo said. "Who is it?"
Rawdon answered it was Lord Steyne.
"The deuce! a Marquis! they said he - that is, they said you - "
"What the devil do you mean?" roared out Rawdon; "do you mean that
you ever heard a fellow doubt about my wife and didn't tell me,
"The world's very censorious, old boy," the other replied. "What
the deuce was the good of my telling you what any tom-fools talked
"It was damned unfriendly, Mac," said Rawdon, quite overcome; and,
covering his face with his hands, he gave way to an emotion, the
sight of which caused the tough old campaigner opposite him to wince
with sympathy. "Hold up, old boy," he said; "great man or not, we'll
put a bullet in him, damn him. As for women, they're all so."
"You don't know how fond I was of that one," Rawdon said, half-
inarticulately. "Damme, I followed her like a footman. I gave up
everything I had to her. I'm a beggar because I would marry her.
By Jove, sir, I've pawned my own watch in order to get her anything
she fancied; and she she's been making a purse for herself all the
time, and grudged me a hundred pound to get me out of quod." He then
fiercely and incoherently, and with an agitation under which his
counsellor had never before seen him labour, told Macmurdo the
circumstances of the story. His adviser caught at some stray hints
in it. "She may be innocent, after all," he said. "She says so.
Steyne has been a hundred times alone with her in the house before."
"It may be so," Rawdon answered sadly, "but this don't look very
innocent": and he showed the Captain the thousand-pound note which
he had found in Becky's pocket-book. "This is what he gave her,
Mac, and she kep it unknown to me; and with this money in the house,
she refused to stand by me when I was locked up." The Captain could
not but own that the secreting of the money had a very ugly look.
Whilst they were engaged in their conference, Rawdon dispatched
Captain Macmurdo's servant to Curzon Street, with an order to the
domestic there to give up a bag of clothes of which the Colonel had
great need. And during the man's absence, and with great labour and
a Johnson's Dictionary, which stood them in much stead, Rawdon and
his second composed a letter, which the latter was to send to Lord
Steyne. Captain Macmurdo had the honour of waiting upon the Marquis
of Steyne, on the part of Colonel Rawdon Crawley, and begged to
intimate that he was empowered by the Colonel to make any
arrangements for the meeting which, he had no doubt, it was his
Lordship's intention to demand, and which the circumstances of the
morning had rendered inevitable. Captain Macmurdo begged Lord
Steyne, in the most polite manner, to appoint a friend, with whom he
(Captain M.M.) might communicate, and desired that the meeting might
take place with as little delay as possible.
In a postscript the Captain stated that he had in his possession a
bank-note for a large amount, which Colonel Crawley had reason to
suppose was the property of the Marquis of Steyne. And he was
anxious, on the Colonel's behalf, to give up the note to its owner.
By the time this note was composed, the Captain's servant returned
from his mission to Colonel Crawley's house in Curzon Street, but
without the carpet-bag and portmanteau, for which he had been sent,
and with a very puzzled and odd face.
"They won't give 'em up," said the man; "there's a regular shinty in
the house, and everything at sixes and sevens. The landlord's come
in and took possession. The servants was a drinkin' up in the
drawingroom. They said - they said you had gone off with the plate,
Colonel" - the man added after a pause - "One of the servants is off
already. And Simpson, the man as was very noisy and drunk indeed,
says nothing shall go out of the house until his wages is paid up."
The account of this little revolution in May Fair astonished and
gave a little gaiety to an otherwise very triste conversation. The
two officers laughed at Rawdon's discomfiture.
"I'm glad the little 'un isn't at home," Rawdon said, biting his
nails. "You remember him, Mac, don't you, in the Riding School? How
he sat the kicker to be sure! didn't he?"
"That he did, old boy," said the good-natured Captain.
Little Rawdon was then sitting, one of fifty gown boys, in the
Chapel of Whitefriars School, thinking, not about the sermon, but
about going home next Saturday, when his father would certainly tip
him and perhaps would take him to the play.
"He's a regular trump, that boy," the father went on, still musing
about his son. "I say, Mac, if anything goes wrong - if I drop - I
should like you to - to go and see him, you know, and say that I was
very fond of him, and that. And - dash it - old chap, give him these
gold sleeve-buttons: it's all I've got." He covered his face with
his black hands, over which the tears rolled and made furrows of
white. Mr. Macmurdo had also occasion to take off his silk night-
cap and rub it across his eyes.
"Go down and order some breakfast," he said to his man in a loud
cheerful voice. "What'll you have, Crawley? Some devilled kidneys
and a herring - let's say. And, Clay, lay out some dressing things
for the Colonel: we were always pretty much of a size, Rawdon, my
boy, and neither of us ride so light as we did when we first entered
the corps." With which, and leaving the Colonel to dress himself,
Macmurdo turned round towards the wall, and resumed the perusal of
Bell's Life, until such time as his friend's toilette was complete
and he was at liberty to commence his own.
This, as he was about to meet a lord, Captain Macmurdo performed
with particular care. He waxed his mustachios into a state of
brilliant polish and put on a tight cravat and a trim buff
waistcoat, so that all the young officers in the mess-room, whither
Crawley had preceded his friend, complimented Mac on his appearance
at breakfast and asked if he was going to be married that Sunday.
In Which the Same Subject is Pursued
Becky did not rally from the state of stupor and confusion in which
the events of the previous night had plunged her intrepid spirit
until the bells of the Curzon Street Chapels were ringing for
afternoon service, and rising from her bed she began to ply her own
bell, in order to summon the French maid who had left her some hours
Mrs. Rawdon Crawley rang many times in vain; and though, on the last
occasion, she rang with such vehemence as to pull down the bell-
rope, Mademoiselle Fifine did not make her appearance - no, not
though her mistress, in a great pet, and with the bell-rope in her
hand, came out to the landing-place with her hair over her shoulders
and screamed out repeatedly for her attendant.
The truth is, she had quitted the premises for many hours, and upon
that permission which is called French leave among us After picking
up the trinkets in the drawing-room, Mademoiselle had ascended to
her own apartments, packed and corded her own boxes there, tripped
out and called a cab for herself, brought down her trunks with her
own hand, and without ever so much as asking the aid of any of the
other servants, who would probably have refused it, as they hated
her cordially, and without wishing any one of them good-bye, had
made her exit from Curzon Street.
The game, in her opinion, was over in that little domestic
establishment. Fifine went off in a cab, as we have known more
exalted persons of her nation to do under similar circumstances:
but, more provident or lucky than these, she secured not only her
own property, but some of her mistress's (if indeed that lady could
be said to have any property at all) - and not only carried off the
trinkets before alluded to, and some favourite dresses on which she
had long kept her eye, but four richly gilt Louis Quatorze
candlesticks, six gilt albums, keepsakes, and Books of Beauty, a
gold enamelled snuff-box which had once belonged to Madame du Barri,
and the sweetest little inkstand and mother-of-pearl blotting book,
which Becky used when she composed her charming little pink notes,
had vanished from the premises in Curzon Street together with
Mademoiselle Fifine, and all the silver laid on the table for the
little festin which Rawdon interrupted. The plated ware
Mademoiselle left behind her was too cumbrous, probably for which
reason, no doubt, she also left the fire irons, the chimney-glasses,
and the rosewood cottage piano.
A lady very like her subsequently kept a milliner's shop in the Rue
du Helder at Paris, where she lived with great credit and enjoyed
the patronage of my Lord Steyne. This person always spoke of
England as of the most treacherous country in the world, and stated
to her young pupils that she had been affreusement vole by natives
of that island. It was no doubt compassion for her misfortunes
which induced the Marquis of Steyne to be so very kind to Madame de
Saint-Amaranthe. May she flourish as she deserves - she appears no
more in our quarter of Vanity Fair.
Hearing a buzz and a stir below, and indignant at the impudence of
those servants who would not answer her summons, Mrs. Crawley flung
her morning robe round her and descended majestically to the
drawing-room, whence the noise proceeded.
The cook was there with blackened face, seated on the beautiful
chintz sofa by the side of Mrs. Raggles, to whom she was
administering Maraschino. The page with the sugar-loaf buttons, who
carried about Becky's pink notes, and jumped about her little
carriage with such alacrity, was now engaged putting his fingers
into a cream dish; the footman was talking to Raggles, who had a
face full of perplexity and woe - and yet, though the door was open,
and Becky had been screaming a half-dozen of times a few feet off,
not one of her attendants had obeyed her call. "Have a little drop,
do'ee now, Mrs. Raggles," the cook was saying as Becky entered, the
white cashmere dressing-gown flouncing around her.
"Simpson! Trotter!" the mistress of the house cried in great wrath.
"How dare you stay here when you heard me call? How dare you sit
down in my presence? Where's my maid?" The page withdrew his fingers
from his mouth with a momentary terror, but the cook took off a
glass of Maraschino, of which Mrs. Raggles had had enough, staring
at Becky over the little gilt glass as she drained its contents.
The liquor appeared to give the odious rebel courage.
"YOUR sofy, indeed!" Mrs. Cook said. "I'm a settin' on Mrs.
Raggles's sofy. Don't you stir, Mrs. Raggles, Mum. I'm a settin' on
Mr. and Mrs. Raggles's sofy, which they bought with honest money,
and very dear it cost 'em, too. And I'm thinkin' if I set here
until I'm paid my wages, I shall set a precious long time, Mrs.
Raggles; and set I will, too - ha! ha!" and with this she filled
herself another glass of the liquor and drank it with a more
hideously satirical air.
"Trotter! Simpson! turn that drunken wretch out," screamed Mrs.
"I shawn't," said Trotter the footman; "turn out yourself. Pay our
selleries, and turn me out too. WE'LL go fast enough."
"Are you all here to insult me?" cried Becky in a fury; "when
Colonel Crawley comes home I'll - "
At this the servants burst into a horse haw-haw, in which, however,
Raggles, who still kept a most melancholy countenance, did not join.
"He ain't a coming back," Mr. Trotter resumed. "He sent for his
things, and I wouldn't let 'em go, although Mr. Raggles would; and I
don't b'lieve he's no more a Colonel than I am. He's hoff, and I
suppose you're a goin' after him. You're no better than swindlers,
both on you. Don't be a bullyin' ME. I won't stand it. Pay us our
selleries, I say. Pay us our selleries." It was evident, from Mr.
Trotter's flushed countenance and defective intonation, that he,
too, had had recourse to vinous stimulus.
"Mr. Raggles," said Becky in a passion of vexation, "you will not
surely let me be insulted by that drunken man?" "Hold your noise,
Trotter; do now," said Simpson the page. He was affected by his
mistress's deplorable situation, and succeeded in preventing an
outrageous denial of the epithet "drunken" on the footman's part.
"Oh, M'am," said Raggles, "I never thought to live to see this year
day: I've known the Crawley family ever since I was born. I lived
butler with Miss Crawley for thirty years; and I little thought one
of that family was a goin' to ruing me - yes, ruing me" - said the
poor fellow with tears in his eyes. "Har you a goin' to pay me?
You've lived in this 'ouse four year. You've 'ad my substance: my
plate and linning. You ho me a milk and butter bill of two 'undred
pound, you must 'ave noo laid heggs for your homlets, and cream for
your spanil dog."
"She didn't care what her own flesh and blood had," interposed the
cook. "Many's the time, he'd have starved but for me."
"He's a charaty-boy now, Cooky," said Mr. Trotter, with a drunken
"ha! ha!" - and honest Raggles continued, in a lamentable tone, an
enumeration of his griefs. All he said was true. Becky and her
husband had ruined him. He had bills coming due next week and no
means to meet them. He would be sold up and turned out of his shop
and his house, because he had trusted to the Crawley family. His
tears and lamentations made Becky more peevish than ever.
"You all seem to be against me," she said bitterly. "What do you
want? I can't pay you on Sunday. Come back to-morrow and I'll pay
you everything. I thought Colonel Crawley had settled with you. He
will to-morrow. I declare to you upon my honour that he left home
this morning with fifteen hundred pounds in his pocket-book. He has
left me nothing. Apply to him. Give me a bonnet and shawl and let
me go out and find him. There was a difference between us this
morning. You all seem to know it. I promise you upon my word that
you shall all be paid. He has got a good appointment. Let me go
out and find him."
This audacious statement caused Raggles and the other personages
present to look at one another with a wild surprise, and with it
Rebecca left them. She went upstairs and dressed herself this time
without the aid of her French maid. She went into Rawdon's room,
and there saw that a trunk and bag were packed ready for removal,
with a pencil direction that they should be given when called for;
then she went into the Frenchwoman's garret; everything was clean,
and all the drawers emptied there. She bethought herself of the
trinkets which had been left on the ground and felt certain that the
woman had fled. "Good Heavens! was ever such ill luck as mine?" she
said; "to be so near, and to lose all. Is it all too late?" No;
there was one chance more.
She dressed herself and went away unmolested this time, but alone.
It was four o'clock. She went swiftly down the streets (she had no
money to pay for a carriage), and never stopped until she came to
Sir Pitt Crawley's door, in Great Gaunt Street. Where was Lady Jane
Crawley? She was at church. Becky was not sorry. Sir Pitt was in
his study, and had given orders not to be disturbed - she must see
him - she slipped by the sentinel in livery at once, and was in Sir
Pitt's room before the astonished Baronet had even laid down the
He turned red and started back from her with a look of great alarm
"Do not look so," she said. "I am not guilty, Pitt, dear Pitt; you
were my friend once. Before God, I am not guilty. I seem so.
Everything is against me. And oh! at such a moment! just when all
my hopes were about to be realized: just when happiness was in
store for us."
"Is this true, what I see in the paper then?" Sir Pitt said - a
paragraph in which had greatly surprised him.
"It is true. Lord Steyne told me on Friday night, the night of that
fatal ball. He has been promised an appointment any time these six
months. Mr. Martyr, the Colonial Secretary, told him yesterday that
it was made out. That unlucky arrest ensued; that horrible meeting.
I was only guilty of too much devotedness to Rawdon's service. I
have received Lord Steyne alone a hundred times before. I confess I
had money of which Rawdon knew nothing. Don't you know how careless
he is of it, and could I dare to confide it to him?" And so she went
on with a perfectly connected story, which she poured into the ears
of her perplexed kinsman.
It was to the following effect. Becky owned, and with prefect
frankness, but deep contrition, that having remarked Lord Steyne's
partiality for her (at the mention of which Pitt blushed), and being
secure of her own virtue, she had determined to turn the great
peer's attachment to the advantage of herself and her family. "I
looked for a peerage for you, Pitt," she said (the brother-in-law
again turned red). "We have talked about it. Your genius and Lord
Steyne's interest made it more than probable, had not this dreadful
calamity come to put an end to all our hopes. But, first, I own