Then all her time and tenderness were devoted to the consolation and comfort of the bereaved old father, who was stunned by the blow which had befallen him, and stood utterly alone in the world. His wife, his honour, his fortune, everything he loved best had fallen away from him. There was only Amelia to stand by and support with her gentle arms the tottering, heart-broken old man. We are not going to write the history: it would be too dreary and stupid. I can see Vanity Fair yawning over it d'avance.
One day as the young gentlemen were assembled in the study at the Rev. Mr. Veal's, and the domestic chaplain to the Right Honourable the Earl of Bareacres was spouting away as usual, a smart carriage drove up to the door decorated with the statue of Athene, and two gentlemen stepped out. The young Masters Bangles rushed to the window with a vague notion that their father might have arrived from Bombay. The great hulking scholar of three-and-twenty, who was crying secretly over a passage of Eutropius, flattened his neglected nose against the panes and looked at the drag, as the laquais de place sprang from the box and let out the persons in the carriage.
"It's a fat one and a thin one," Mr. Bluck said as a thundering knock came to the door.
Everybody was interested, from the domestic chaplain himself, who hoped he saw the fathers of some future pupils, down to Master Georgy, glad of any pretext for laying his book down.
The boy in the shabby livery with the faded copper buttons, who always thrust himself into the tight coat to open the door, came into the study and said, "Two gentlemen want to see Master Osborne." The professor had had a trifling altercation in the morning with that young gentleman, owing to a difference about the introduction of crackers in school-time; but his face resumed its habitual expression of bland courtesy as he said, "Master Osborne, I give you full permission to go and see your carriage friends — to whom I beg you to convey the respectful compliments of myself and Mrs. Veal."
Georgy went into the reception-room and saw two strangers, whom he looked at with his head up, in his usual haughty manner. One was fat, with mustachios, and the other was lean and long, in a blue frock-coat, with a brown face and a grizzled head.
"My God, how like he is!" said the long gentleman with a start. "Can you guess who we are, George?"
The boy's face flushed up, as it did usually when he was moved, and his eyes brightened. "I don't know the other," he said, "but I should think you must be Major Dobbin."
Indeed it was our old friend. His voice trembled with pleasure as he greeted the boy, and taking both the other's hands in his own, drew the lad to him.
"Your mother has talked to you about me — has she?" he said.
"That she has," Georgy answered, "hundreds and hundreds of times."