Vanity Fair HTML version

Chapter 3
Rebecca Is in Presence of the Enemy
A VERY stout, puffy man, in buckskins and Hessian boots, with several immense
neckcloths that rose almost to his nose, with a red striped waistcoat and an apple green
coat with steel buttons almost as large as crown pieces (it was the morning costume of a
dandy or blood of those days) was reading the paper by the fire when the two girls
entered, and bounced off his arm-chair, and blushed excessively, and hid his entire face
almost in his neckcloths at this apparition.
"It's only your sister, Joseph," said Amelia, laughing and shaking the two fingers which
he held out. "I've come home FOR GOOD, you know; and this is my friend, Miss Sharp,
whom you have heard me mention."
"No, never, upon my word," said the head under the neckcloth, shaking very much--"that
is, yes--what abominably cold weather, Miss"--and herewith he fell to poking the fire
with all his might, although it was in the middle of June.
"He's very handsome," whispered Rebecca to Amelia, rather loud.
"Do you think so?" said the latter. "I'll tell him."
"Darling! not for worlds," said Miss Sharp, starting back as timid as a fawn. She had
previously made a respectful virgin-like curtsey to the gentleman, and her modest eyes
gazed so perseveringly on the carpet that it was a wonder how she should have found an
opportunity to see him.
"Thank you for the beautiful shawls, brother," said Amelia to the fire poker. "Are they
not beautiful, Rebecca?"
"O heavenly!" said Miss Sharp, and her eyes went from the carpet straight to the
Joseph still continued a huge clattering at the poker and tongs, puffing and blowing the
while, and turning as red as his yellow face would allow him. "I can't make you such
handsome presents, Joseph," continued his sister, "but while I was at school, I have
embroidered for you a very beautiful pair of braces."
"Good Gad! Amelia," cried the brother, in serious alarm, "what do you mean?" and
plunging with all his might at the bell-rope, that article of furniture came away in his
hand, and increased the honest fellow's confusion. "For heaven's sake see if my buggy's at
the door. I CAN'T wait. I must go. D--- that groom of mine. I must go."