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Chapter 16
The Letter on the Pincushion
How they were married is not of the slightest consequence to anybody. What is to hinder
a Captain who is a major, and a young lady who is of age, from purchasing a licence, and
uniting themselves at any church in this town? Who needs to be told, that if a woman has
a will she will assuredly find a way?--My belief is that one day, when Miss Sharp had
gone to pass the forenoon with her dear friend Miss Amelia Sedley in Russell Square, a
lady very like her might have been seen entering a church in the City, in company with a
gentleman with dyed mustachios, who, after a quarter of an hour's interval, escorted her
back to the hackney-coach in waiting, and that this was a quiet bridal party.
And who on earth, after the daily experience we have, can question the probability of a
gentleman marrying anybody? How many of the wise and learned have married their
cooks? Did not Lord Eldon himself, the most prudent of men, make a runaway match?
Were not Achilles and Ajax both in love with their servant maids? And are we to expect a
heavy dragoon with strong desires and small brains, who had never controlled a passion
in his life, to become prudent all of a sudden, and to refuse to pay any price for an
indulgence to which he had a mind? If people only made prudent marriages, what a stop
to population there would be!
It seems to me, for my part, that Mr. Rawdon's marriage was one of the honestest actions
which we shall have to record in any portion of that gentleman's biography which has to
do with the present history. No one will say it is unmanly to be captivated by a woman,
or, being captivated, to marry her; and the admiration, the delight, the passion, the
wonder, the unbounded confidence, and frantic adoration with which, by degrees, this big
warrior got to regard the little Rebecca, were feelings which the ladies at least will
pronounce were not altogether discreditable to him. When she sang, every note thrilled in
his dull soul, and tingled through his huge frame. When she spoke, he brought all the
force of his brains to listen and wonder. If she was jocular, he used to revolve her jokes in
his mind, and explode over them half an hour afterwards in the street, to the surprise of
the groom in the tilbury by his side, or the comrade riding with him in Rotten Row. Her
words were oracles to him, her smallest actions marked by an infallible grace and
wisdom. "How she sings,--how she paints," thought he. "How she rode that kicking mare
at Queen's Crawley!" And he would say to her in confidential moments, "By Jove, Beck,
you're fit to be Commander-in- Chief, or Archbishop of Canterbury, by Jove." Is his case
a rare one? and don't we see every day in the world many an honest Hercules at the
apron-strings of Omphale, and great whiskered Samsons prostrate in Delilah's lap?
When, then, Becky told him that the great crisis was near, and the time for action had
arrived, Rawdon expressed himself as ready to act under her orders, as he would be to
charge with his troop at the command of his colonel. There was no need for him to put
his letter into the third volume of Porteus. Rebecca easily found a means to get rid of
Briggs, her companion, and met her faithful friend in "the usual place" on the next day.