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George Osborne–Rawdon Crawley
by [?]

His father used to take him out of mornings, when they would go to the stables together and to the park. Little Lord Southdown, the best natured of men, who would make you a present of a hat from his head, and whose main occupation in life was to buy nicknacks that he might give them away afterwards, bought the little chap a pony, not much bigger than a large rat, and on this little black Shetland pony young Rawdon’s great father would mount the boy, and walk by his side in the Park.

One Sunday morning as Rawdon Crawley, his little son, and the pony were taking their accustomed walk, they passed an old acquaintance of the Colonel’s, Corporal Clink, who was in conversation with an old gentleman, who held a boy in his arms about the age of little Rawdon. The 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, Georgie?”

“Yes, sir,” said Georgie. He and the little chap on the pony were looking at each other with all their might, solemnly scanning each other as children do.

“His father was a captain in the–the 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”

“I knew him very well, sir,” said Colonel Crawley, “and his wife, his dear little wife, sir–how is she?”

“She is my daughter, sir,” said the old gentleman proudly, putting down the boy, and taking out his card, which he handed to the Colonel, while little Georgie went up and looked at the Shetland pony.

“Should you like to have a ride?” said Rawdon minor from the saddle.

“Yes,” said Georgie. 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, Georgie,” he said; “take my little boy around 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, who enjoyed each other and the pony enormously. In later years they often talked of that first meeting.

But this is anticipating our story, for between the time of their first ride together, and the time when circumstances brought them together again, the little chaps saw nothing of one another for a number of years, during which the incidents of their lives differed as widely as did the lives of their parents.

About the time when the little boys first met, Sir Pitt Crawley, Baronet, father of Pitt and Rawdon Crawley, died, and Rebecca and her husband hastened to Queen’s Crawley, the old family home, where Rebecca had once been governess, to shed a last tear over the departed Baronet. Rebecca was not bowed down with grief, we must confess, but keenly alive to the benefits which might come to herself and Rawdon if she could please Sir Pitt Crawley, the new Baronet, and Lady Jane his wife, a simple-minded woman mostly absorbed in the affairs of her nursery. This interest aroused Becky’s private scorn, but the first thing that clever little lady did was to attack Lady Jane at her vulnerable point. After being conducted to the apartments prepared for her, and having taken off her bonnet and cloak, Becky asked her sister-in-law in what more she could be useful.

“What I should like best,” she added, “would be to see your dear little nursery,” at which the two ladies looked very kindly at each other, and went to the nursery hand in hand.