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George Osborne–Rawdon Crawley
by [?]

Rebecca sharp, the teacher of French at Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for young ladies, and intimate friend of Miss Amelia Sedley, the most popular scholar in Miss Pinkerton’s select establishment, left the institution at the same time to become a governess in the family of Sir Pitt Crawley. Amelia was the only daughter of John Sedley, a wealthy London stock broker, and upon leaving school was to take her place in fashionable society. Being the sweetest, most kind-hearted girl in the world, Amelia invited Becky to visit her in London before taking up her new duties as governess; which invitation Becky was only too glad to accept.

Now, Miss Sharp was in no way like the gentle Amelia, but as keen, brilliant, and selfish a young person of eighteen as ever schemed to have events turn to her advantage. These characteristics she showed so plainly while visiting at the Sedleys’ that she left anything but a good impression behind her. In fact, her visit was cut short because of some unpleasant circumstances connected with her behaviour.

From that time she and Amelia did not meet for many months, during which Amelia had become the wife of George Osborne, and Rebecca Sharp had married Rawdon Crawley, son of Sir Pitt Crawley, Baronet.

The circumstances of Amelia’s life during these months altered greatly, for shortly after she left school honest John Sedley met with such severe losses that his family were obliged to live in a much more modest way than formerly. Because of this misfortune, the course of Amelia’s love affair with young Lieutenant Osborne did not run smoothly; for his father was far too ambitious to consent to his only son’s marriage with the daughter of a ruined man, although John Sedley was his son’s godfather, and George had been devoted to Amelia since early boyhood.

Lieutenant Osborne therefore went away with his regiment, and poor little Amelia was left behind, to pine and mourn until it seemed there was no hope of saving her life unless happiness should speedily come to her. Then it was that Major Dobbin, George Osborne’s staunch friend of schooldays, and also an ardent admirer of Amelia’s, saw how she was grieving and took upon himself to inform George Osborne of the state of affairs. The young lieutenant came hurrying home just in time to save a gentle little heart from wearing itself away with sorrowing, and married Amelia without his father’s consent. This so enraged the old gentleman that he refused to have his name mentioned in the home where the boy had grown up; the veriest tyrant and idol of his sisters and father.

To Brighton George and Amelia went on their honeymoon, and there they met Becky Sharp and her husband. Though the circumstances of the two young women’s career had altered, Amelia and Becky were unchanged in character, but that is of small concern to us, except as it affects their children, to whose lives we now turn with keen interest, noting how they reflect the dispositions, and are affected by the characters of their mothers.

As for little Rawdon Crawley, Becky’s only child, he had few early happy recollections of his mother. She had not, to say the truth, seen much of the young gentleman since his birth. After the amiable fashion of French mothers, she had placed him out at nurse in a village in the neighbourhood of Paris, where little Rawdon lived, not unhappily, with a numerous family of foster brothers in wooden shoes. His father, who was devotedly attached to the little fellow, would ride over many a time to see him here, and the elder Rawdon’s paternal heart glowed to see him rosy and dirty, shouting lustily, and happy in the making of mud-pies under the superintendence of the gardener’s wife, his nurse.

Rebecca, however, did not care much to go and see her son and heir, who as a result preferred his nurse’s caresses to his mamma’s, and when finally he quitted that jolly nurse, he cried loudly for hours. He was only consoled by his mother’s promise that he should return to his nurse the next day; which promise, it is needless to say, was not kept; instead the boy was consigned to the care of a French maid, Genevieve, while his mother was seldom with him, and the French woman was so neglectful of her young charge that at one time he very narrowly escaped drowning on Calais sands, where Genevieve had left and lost him.