When the companion came, his domestic duties became very light. His wife encouraged him to dine abroad: she would let him off duty at the opera. "Don't stay and stupefy yourself at home to-night, my dear," she would say. "Some men are coming who will only bore you. I would not ask them, but you know it's for your good, and now I have a sheep-dog, I need not be afraid to be alone."
"A sheep-dog — a companion! Becky Sharp with a companion! Isn't it good fun?" thought Mrs. Crawley to herself. The notion tickled hugely her sense of humour.
One Sunday morning, as Rawdon Crawley, his little son, and the pony were taking their accustomed walk in the park, they passed by an old acquaintance of the Colonel's, Corporal Clink, of the regiment, who was in conversation with a friend, an old gentleman, who held a boy in his arms about the age of little Rawdon. This other youngster had seized hold of the Waterloo medal which the Corporal wore, and was examining it with delight.
"Good morning, your Honour," said Clink, in reply to the "How do, Clink?" of the Colonel. "This ere young gentleman is about the little Colonel's age, sir," continued the corporal.
"His father was a Waterloo man, too," said the old gentleman, who carried the boy. "Wasn't he, Georgy?"
"Yes," said Georgy. He and the little chap on the pony were looking at each other with all their might — solemnly scanning each other as children do.
"In a line regiment," Clink said with a patronizing air.
"He was a Captain in the — th regiment," said the old gentleman rather pompously. "Captain George Osborne, sir — perhaps you knew him. He died the death of a hero, sir, fighting against the Corsican tyrant." Colonel Crawley blushed quite red. "I knew him very well, sir," he said, "and his wife, his dear little wife, sir — how is she?"
"She is my daughter, sir," said the old gentleman, putting down the boy and taking out a card with great solemnity, which he handed to the Colonel. On it written —
"Mr. Sedley, Sole Agent for the Black Diamond and Anti-Cinder Coal Association, Bunker's Wharf, Thames Street, and Anna-Maria Cottages, Fulham Road West."
Little Georgy went up and looked at the Shetland pony.
"Should you like to have a ride?" said Rawdon minor from the saddle.
"Yes," said Georgy. The Colonel, who had been looking at him with some interest, took up the child and put him on the pony behind Rawdon minor.
"Take hold of him, Georgy," he said — "take my little boy round the waist — his name is Rawdon." And both the children began to laugh.
"You won't see a prettier pair I think, THIS summer's day, sir," said the good-natured Corporal; and the Colonel, the Corporal, and old Mr. Sedley with his umbrella, walked by the side of the children.