Vanity Fair By William Makepeace Thackeray Chapters 54-56

"You don't know how fond I was of that one," Rawdon said, half- inarticulately. "Damme, I followed her like a footman. I gave up everything I had to her. I'm a beggar because I would marry her. By Jove, sir, I've pawned my own watch in order to get her anything she fancied; and she she's been making a purse for herself all the time, and grudged me a hundred pound to get me out of quod." He then fiercely and incoherently, and with an agitation under which his counsellor had never before seen him labour, told Macmurdo the circumstances of the story. His adviser caught at some stray hints in it. "She may be innocent, after all," he said. "She says so. Steyne has been a hundred times alone with her in the house before."

"It may be so," Rawdon answered sadly, "but this don't look very innocent": and he showed the Captain the thousand-pound note which he had found in Becky's pocket-book. "This is what he gave her, Mac, and she kep it unknown to me; and with this money in the house, she refused to stand by me when I was locked up." The Captain could not but own that the secreting of the money had a very ugly look.

Whilst they were engaged in their conference, Rawdon dispatched Captain Macmurdo's servant to Curzon Street, with an order to the domestic there to give up a bag of clothes of which the Colonel had great need. And during the man's absence, and with great labour and a Johnson's Dictionary, which stood them in much stead, Rawdon and his second composed a letter, which the latter was to send to Lord Steyne. Captain Macmurdo had the honour of waiting upon the Marquis of Steyne, on the part of Colonel Rawdon Crawley, and begged to intimate that he was empowered by the Colonel to make any arrangements for the meeting which, he had no doubt, it was his Lordship's intention to demand, and which the circumstances of the morning had rendered inevitable. Captain Macmurdo begged Lord Steyne, in the most polite manner, to appoint a friend, with whom he (Captain M.M.) might communicate, and desired that the meeting might take place with as little delay as possible.

In a postscript the Captain stated that he had in his possession a bank-note for a large amount, which Colonel Crawley had reason to suppose was the property of the Marquis of Steyne. And he was anxious, on the Colonel's behalf, to give up the note to its owner.

By the time this note was composed, the Captain's servant returned from his mission to Colonel Crawley's house in Curzon Street, but without the carpet-bag and portmanteau, for which he had been sent, and with a very puzzled and odd face.

"They won't give 'em up," said the man; "there's a regular shinty in the house, and everything at sixes and sevens. The landlord's come in and took possession. The servants was a drinkin' up in the drawingroom. They said — they said you had gone off with the plate, Colonel" — the man added after a pause — "One of the servants is off already. And Simpson, the man as was very noisy and drunk indeed, says nothing shall go out of the house until his wages is paid up."

The account of this little revolution in May Fair astonished and gave a little gaiety to an otherwise very triste conversation. The two officers laughed at Rawdon's discomfiture.

"I'm glad the little 'un isn't at home," Rawdon said, biting his nails. "You remember him, Mac, don't you, in the Riding School? How he sat the kicker to be sure! didn't he?"

"That he did, old boy," said the good-natured Captain.

Little Rawdon was then sitting, one of fifty gown boys, in the Chapel of Whitefriars School, thinking, not about the sermon, but about going home next Saturday, when his father would certainly tip him and perhaps would take him to the play.

"He's a regular trump, that boy," the father went on, still musing about his son. "I say, Mac, if anything goes wrong — if I drop — I should like you to — to go and see him, you know, and say that I was very fond of him, and that. And — dash it — old chap, give him these gold sleeve-buttons: it's all I've got." He covered his face with his black hands, over which the tears rolled and made furrows of white. Mr. Macmurdo had also occasion to take off his silk night- cap and rub it across his eyes.

"Go down and order some breakfast," he said to his man in a loud cheerful voice. "What'll you have, Crawley? Some devilled kidneys and a herring — let's say. And, Clay, lay out some dressing things for the Colonel: we were always pretty much of a size, Rawdon, my boy, and neither of us ride so light as we did when we first entered the corps." With which, and leaving the Colonel to dress himself, Macmurdo turned round towards the wall, and resumed the perusal of Bell's Life, until such time as his friend's toilette was complete and he was at liberty to commence his own.

This, as he was about to meet a lord, Captain Macmurdo performed with particular care. He waxed his mustachios into a state of brilliant polish and put on a tight cravat and a trim buff waistcoat, so that all the young officers in the mess-room, whither Crawley had preceded his friend, complimented Mac on his appearance at breakfast and asked if he was going to be married that Sunday.

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