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Vanity Fair

Chapter 11
Arcadian Simplicity
Besides these honest folks at the Hall (whose simplicity and sweet rural purity surely
show the advantage of a country life over a town one), we must introduce the reader to
their relatives and neighbours at the Rectory, Bute Crawley and his wife.
The Reverend Bute Crawley was a tall, stately, jolly, shovel-hatted man, far more popular
in his county than the Baronet his brother. At college he pulled stroke-oar in the
Christchurch boat, and had thrashed all the best bruisers of the "town." He carried his
taste for boxing and athletic exercises into private life; there was not a fight within twenty
miles at which he was not present, nor a race, nor a coursing match, nor a regatta, nor a
ball, nor an election, nor a visitation dinner, nor indeed a good dinner in the whole
county, but he found means to attend it. You might see his bay mare and gig-lamps a
score of miles away from his Rectory House, whenever there was any dinner-party at
Fuddleston, or at Roxby, or at Wapshot Hall, or at the great lords of the county, with all
of whom he was intimate. He had a fine voice; sang "A southerly wind and a cloudy
sky"; and gave the "whoop" in chorus with general applause. He rode to hounds in a
pepper-and-salt frock, and was one of the best fishermen in the county.
Mrs. Crawley, the rector's wife, was a smart little body, who wrote this worthy divine's
sermons. Being of a domestic turn, and keeping the house a great deal with her daughters,
she ruled absolutely within the Rectory, wisely giving her husband full liberty without.
He was welcome to come and go, and dine abroad as many days as his fancy dictated, for
Mrs. Crawley was a saving woman and knew the price of port wine. Ever since Mrs. Bute
carried off the young Rector of Queen's Crawley (she was of a good family, daughter of
the late Lieut.-Colonel Hector McTavish, and she and her mother played for Bute and
won him at Harrowgate), she had been a prudent and thrifty wife to him. In spite of her
care, however, he was always in debt. It took him at least ten years to pay off his college
bills contracted during his father's lifetime. In the year 179-, when he was just clear of
these incumbrances, he gave the odds of 100 to 1 (in twenties) against Kangaroo, who
won the Derby. The Rector was obliged to take up the money at a ruinous interest, and
had been struggling ever since. His sister helped him with a hundred now and then, but of
course his great hope was in her death-- when "hang it" (as he would say), "Matilda must
leave me half her money."
So that the Baronet and his brother had every reason which two brothers possibly can
have for being by the ears. Sir Pitt had had the better of Bute in innumerable family
transactions. Young Pitt not only did not hunt, but set up a meeting house under his
uncle's very nose. Rawdon, it was known, was to come in for the bulk of Miss Crawley's
property. These money transactions--these speculations in life and death--these silent
battles for reversionary spoil--make brothers very loving towards each other in Vanity
Fair. I, for my part, have known a five-pound note to interpose and knock up a half
 
 
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