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Vanity Fair

Chapter 26
Between London and Chatham
On quitting Brighton, our friend George, as became a person of rank and fashion
travelling in a barouche with four horses, drove in state to a fine hotel in Cavendish
Square, where a suite of splendid rooms, and a table magnificently furnished with plate
and surrounded by a half-dozen of black and silent waiters, was ready to receive the
young gentleman and his bride. George did the honours of the place with a princely air to
Jos and Dobbin; and Amelia, for the first time, and with exceeding shyness and timidity,
presided at what George called her own table.
George pooh-poohed the wine and bullied the waiters royally, and Jos gobbled the turtle
with immense satisfaction. Dobbin helped him to it; for the lady of the house, before
whom the tureen was placed, was so ignorant of the contents, that she was going to help
Mr. Sedley without bestowing upon him either calipash or calipee.
The splendour of the entertainment, and the apartments in which it was given, alarmed
Mr. Dobbin, who remonstrated after dinner, when Jos was asleep in the great chair. But
in vain he cried out against the enormity of turtle and champagne that was fit for an
archbishop. "I've always been accustomed to travel like a gentleman," George said, "and,
damme, my wife shall travel like a lady. As long as there's a shot in the locker, she shall
want for nothing," said the generous fellow, quite pleased with himself for his
magnificence of spirit. Nor did Dobbin try and convince him that Amelia's happiness was
not centred in turtle-soup.
A while after dinner, Amelia timidly expressed a wish to go and see her mamma, at
Fulham: which permission George granted her with some grumbling. And she tripped
away to her enormous bedroom, in the centre of which stood the enormous funereal bed,
"that the Emperor Halixander's sister slep in when the allied sufferings was here," and put
on her little bonnet and shawl with the utmost eagerness and pleasure. George was still
drinking claret when she returned to the dining-room, and made no signs of moving.
"Ar'n't you coming with me, dearest?" she asked him. No; the "dearest" had "business"
that night. His man should get her a coach and go with her. And the coach being at the
door of the hotel, Amelia made George a little disappointed curtsey after looking vainly
into his face once or twice, and went sadly down the great staircase, Captain Dobbin
after, who handed her into the vehicle, and saw it drive away to its destination. The very
valet was ashamed of mentioning the address to the hackney-coachman before the hotel
waiters, and promised to instruct him when they got further on.
Dobbin walked home to his old quarters and the Slaughters', thinking very likely that it
would be delightful to be in that hackney-coach, along with Mrs. Osborne. George was
evidently of quite a different taste; for when he had taken wine enough, he went off to
half-price at the play, to see Mr. Kean perform in Shylock. Captain Osborne was a great
lover of the drama, and had himself performed high- comedy characters with great
 
 
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