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Chapter 13
Sentimental and Otherwise
I fear the gentleman to whom Miss Amelia's letters were addressed was rather an
obdurate critic. Such a number of notes followed Lieutenant Osborne about the country,
that he became almost ashamed of the jokes of his mess-room companions regarding
them, and ordered his servant never to deliver them except at his private apartment. He
was seen lighting his cigar with one, to the horror of Captain Dobbin, who, it is my
belief, would have given a bank-note for the document.
For some time George strove to keep the liaison a secret. There was a woman in the case,
that he admitted. "And not the first either," said Ensign Spooney to Ensign Stubble. "That
Osborne's a devil of a fellow. There was a judge's daughter at Demerara went almost mad
about him; then there was that beautiful quadroon girl, Miss Pye, at St. Vincent's, you
know; and since he's been home, they say he's a regular Don Giovanni, by Jove."
Stubble and Spooney thought that to be a "regular Don Giovanni, by Jove" was one of the
finest qualities a man could possess, and Osborne's reputation was prodigious amongst
the young men of the regiment. He was famous in field-sports, famous at a song, famous
on parade; free with his money, which was bountifully supplied by his father. His coats
were better made than any man's in the regiment, and he had more of them. He was
adored by the men. He could drink more than any officer of the whole mess, including
old Heavytop, the colonel. He could spar better than Knuckles, the private (who would
have been a corporal but for his drunkenness, and who had been in the prize-ring); and
was the best batter and bowler, out and out, of the regimental club. He rode his own
horse, Greased Lightning, and won the Garrison cup at Quebec races. There were other
people besides Amelia who worshipped him. Stubble and Spooney thought him a sort of
Apollo; Dobbin took him to be an Admirable Crichton; and Mrs. Major O'Dowd
acknowledged he was an elegant young fellow, and put her in mind of Fitzjurld Fogarty,
Lord Castlefogarty's second son.
Well, Stubble and Spooney and the rest indulged in most romantic conjectures regarding
this female correspondent of Osborne's-- opining that it was a Duchess in London who
was in love with him--or that it was a General's daughter, who was engaged to somebody
else, and madly attached to him--or that it was a Member of Parliament's lady, who
proposed four horses and an elopement--or that it was some other victim of a passion
delightfully exciting, romantic, and disgraceful to all parties, on none of which
conjectures would Osborne throw the least light, leaving his young admirers and friends
to invent and arrange their whole history.
And the real state of the case would never have been known at all in the regiment but for
Captain Dobbin's indiscretion. The Captain was eating his breakfast one day in the mess-
room, while Cackle, the assistant-surgeon, and the two above-named worthies were
speculating upon Osborne's intrigue--Stubble holding out that the lady was a Duchess