Vanity Fair HTML version

Chapter 8
Private and Confidential
Miss Rebecca Sharp to Miss Amelia Sedley, Russell Square, London. (Free.--Pitt
With what mingled joy and sorrow do I take up the pen to write to my dearest friend! Oh,
what a change between to-day and yesterday! Now I am friendless and alone; yesterday I
was at home, in the sweet company of a sister, whom I shall ever, ever cherish!
I will not tell you in what tears and sadness I passed the fatal night in which I separated
from you. YOU went on Tuesday to joy and happiness, with your mother and YOUR
DEVOTED YOUNG SOLDIER by your side; and I thought of you all night, dancing at
the Perkins's, the prettiest, I am sure, of all the young ladies at the Ball. I was brought by
the groom in the old carriage to Sir Pitt Crawley's town house, where, after John the
groom had behaved most rudely and insolently to me (alas! 'twas safe to insult poverty
and misfortune!), I was given over to Sir P.'s care, and made to pass the night in an old
gloomy bed, and by the side of a horrid gloomy old charwoman, who keeps the house. I
did not sleep one single wink the whole night.
Sir Pitt is not what we silly girls, when we used to read Cecilia at Chiswick, imagined a
baronet must have been. Anything, indeed, less like Lord Orville cannot be imagined.
Fancy an old, stumpy, short, vulgar, and very dirty man, in old clothes and shabby old
gaiters, who smokes a horrid pipe, and cooks his own horrid supper in a saucepan. He
speaks with a country accent, and swore a great deal at the old charwoman, at the
hackney coachman who drove us to the inn where the coach went from, and on which I
I was awakened at daybreak by the charwoman, and having arrived at the inn, was at first
placed inside the coach. But, when we got to a place called Leakington, where the rain
began to fall very heavily--will you believe it?--I was forced to come outside; for Sir Pitt
is a proprietor of the coach, and as a passenger came at Mudbury, who wanted an inside
place, I was obliged to go outside in the rain, where, however, a young gentleman from
Cambridge College sheltered me very kindly in one of his several great coats.
This gentleman and the guard seemed to know Sir Pitt very well, and laughed at him a
great deal. They both agreed in calling him an old screw; which means a very stingy,
avaricious person. He never gives any money to anybody, they said (and this meanness I
hate); and the young gentleman made me remark that we drove very slow for the last two
stages on the road, because Sir Pitt was on the box, and because he is proprietor of the
horses for this part of the journey. "But won't I flog 'em on to Squashmore, when I take