فصل 10

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فصل 10

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Chapter ten

Misleading Letters

Jos Sedley returned to India after his adventures in Brussels. He sent a small amount of money to his parents to maintain their modest little house in Fulham.

The Sedley household lived in a very small way. Old Mr Sedley tried various little business schemes in an effort to recover his fortune, but all of them came to nothing. Amelia herself had no thoughts for anything except her son.

The family received few visitors now that Dobbin was abroad again, although the local curate at the church where they worshipped called quite often. People said the reason for his calls was Amelia, but she took little notice of the young man.

The years went by, and George grew into a healthy young boy. He was full of energy, and everyone said he looked just like his father.

Old Sir Pitt Crawley died, to the relief of all his family. He had become increasingly eccentric in his final years, and his behaviour had been a scandal throughout the county. His son, Pitt, inherited the property and the title, and as he had already inherited Miss Crawley’s fortune, he was now a man of substance and importance. His thoughts turned to a career in politics.

Rawdon and Becky were, of course, invited to attend the old man’s funeral at Queen’s Crawley. Becky received the invitation with delight.

‘Why are you so happy about it?’ Rawdon asked in astonishment. ‘There’s no money coming to me from my father’s death. You don’t really want to go, do you?’

‘Of course we’re going!’ Becky cried. ‘Lady Jane shall present me at Court next year, and Pitt will give you a seat in Parliament!’

‘What about little Rawdy - is he coming with us?’ Rawdon asked tenderly. He did not like being parted from his son for more than a few days.

‘No,’ said Becky, ‘he can stay here with Briggs - she’ll look after him.’ The faithful Briggs had come to work for the young couple after Miss Crawley’s death.

The visit was a great success for Becky. She behaved herself with modesty and tact in front of the new Sir Pitt Crawley, and flattered his political ambitions. She talked sentimentally about her son in front of the kind-hearted Lady Jane, and won that lady’s friendship. With Lady Jane’s mother, the Countess of Southdown, she talked religion.

Amelia, meanwhile, wrote regularly to Major Dobbin, who was with the army in India. She gave him all the news about Georgy. She also visited his sisters sometimes. One day the sisters told her some important news.

‘William’s getting married.’

She wrote to congratulate him, and to wish him happiness for the future.

Georgy went to see Dobbin’s sisters by himself sometimes, and he came back from one such visit wearing a beautiful gold watch. He said that a lady had given it to him. Amelia guessed that the lady was a member of the Osborne family. In fact, it was George Osborne’s sister, who had also been visiting the Dobbin sisters.

When Miss Osborne arrived home that afternoon, she told old Mr Osborne that she had seen Georgy.

‘He looks just like his father,’ she said tearfully.

The old man did not reply, but he went very red in the face and began to shake with emotion. He still hated the Sedleys, but he wanted to see his grandson. Slowу a plan began to form in his mind.

Dobbin was astonished to receive Amelia’s letter congratulating him on his coming marriage. It was true that Peggy O’Dowd had been trying to persuade him to marry a relative of hers, but Dobbin was in love with Amelia. He was not interested in any other girls. When he read Amelia’s letter he realised that she did not understand what he felt for her.

‘Don’t you realise that it’s you I love?’ he thought. ‘Don’t you remember how I looked after you when George was killed - how I brought you safely back to England?’

A little while later Dobbin received another letter from England. His sisters told him about Amelia. ‘She’s going to marry the curate at her local church,’ they wrote. ‘And Georgy is going to live with his grandfather.’

Both pieces of news disturbed Dobbin very much.

‘Amelia will not marry again,’ he thought, ‘and I’m sure she’ll never give up Georgy to Mr Osborne.’ He suspected that she was in trouble, and once again he was determined to help her. He immediately asked for urgent leave to go to England.

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