Means were easily found to win the favour of Georgy and the servants. Amelia’s maid, it has been said, was heart and soul in favour of the generous Major. Having at first disliked Becky for being the means of dismissing him from the presence of her mistress, she was reconciled to Mrs. Crawley subsequently, because the latter became William’s most ardent admirer and champion. And in those nightly conclaves in which the two ladies indulged after their parties, and while Miss Payne was “brushing their ’airs,” as she called the yellow locks of the one and the soft brown tresses of the other, this girl always put in her word for that dear good gentleman Major Dobbin. Her advocacy did not make Amelia angry any more than Rebecca’s admiration of him. She made George write to him constantly and persisted in sending Mamma’s kind love in a postscript. And as she looked at her husband’s portrait of nights, it no longer reproached her—perhaps she reproached it, now William was gone.

Emmy was not very happy after her heroic sacrifice. She was very distraite, nervous, silent, and ill to please. The family had never known her so peevish. She grew pale and ill. She used to try to sing certain songs (“Einsam bin ich nicht alleine,” was one of them, that tender love-song of Weber’s which~ in old-fashioned days, young ladies, and when you were scarcely born, showed that those who lived before you knew too how to love and to sing) certain songs, I say, to which the Major was partial; and as she warbled them in the twilight in the drawing-room, she would break off in the midst of the song, and walk into her neighbouring apartment, and there, no doubt, take refuge in the miniature of her husband.

Some books still subsisted, after Dobbin’s departure, with his name written in them; a German dictionary, for instance, with “William Dobbin, —th Reg.,” in the fly-leaf; a guide-book with his initials; and one or two other volumes which belonged to the Major. Emmy cleared these away and put them on the drawers, where she placed her work-box, her desk, her Bible, and prayer-book, under the pictures of the two Georges. And the Major, on going away, having left his gloves behind him, it is a fact that Georgy, rummaging his mother’s desk some time afterwards, found the gloves neatly folded up and put away in what they call the secret-drawers of the desk.

Not caring for society, and moping there a great deal, Emmy’s chief pleasure in the summer evenings was to take long walks with Georgy (during which Rebecca was left to the society of Mr. Joseph), and then the mother and son used to talk about the Major in a way which even made the boy smile. She told him that she thought Major William was the best man in all the world —the gentlest and the kindest, the bravest and the humblest. Over and over again she told him how they owed everything which they possessed in the world to that kind friend’s benevolent care of them; how he had befriended them all through their poverty and misfortunes; watched over them when nobody cared for them; how all his comrades admired him though he never spoke of his own gallant actions; how Georgy’s father trusted him beyond all other men, and had been constantly befriended by the good William. “Why, when your papa was a little boy,” she said, “he often told me that it was William who defended him against a tyrant at the school where they were; and their friendship never ceased from that day until the last, when your dear father fell.”

“Did Dobbin kill the man who killed Papa?” Georgy said. “I’m sure he did, or he would if he could have caught him, wouldn’t he, Mother? When I’m in the Army, won’t I hate the French?—that’s all.”

In such colloquies the mother and the child passed a great deal of their time together. The artless woman had made a confidant of the boy. He was as much William’s friend as everybody else who knew him well.

By the way, Mrs. Becky, not to be behind hand in sentiment, had got a miniature too hanging up in her room, to the surprise and amusement of most people, and the delight of the original, who was no other than our friend Jos. On her first coming to favour the Sedleys with a visit, the little woman, who had arrived with a remarkably small shabby kit, was perhaps ashamed of the meanness of her trunks and bandboxes, and often spoke with great respect about her baggage left behind at Leipzig, which she must have from that city. When a traveller talks to you perpetually about the splendour of his luggage, which he does not happen to have with him, my son, beware of that traveller! He is, ten to one, an impostor.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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