Vanity Fair: Chapter 25,26,27,28,29,30,31

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Summary - Chapters Twenty Five, Twenty Six, Twenty Seven, Twenty Eight, Twenty Nine, Thirty and Thirty One

Dobbin is described as a hypocrite by the narrator, in Chapter Twenty Five, as he hides his true feelings for Amelia and plays down the forthcoming war. At the moment, Amelia has little regard for him, but after two hours in Dobbin’s company Becky is able to see that he loves Amelia.


Osborne opens the letter from his father (which was written by his lawyer). It informs him that Osborne senior no longer considers him a member of the family. He is allowed to have the £2,000 of his dead mother’s estate but declines any form of communication from now on. Osborne’s first reaction is to blame Dobbin for rushing him into marriage. He does not think he can live on such a ‘pittance’. Dobbin tells him he will help out his widow financially if he is killed in the war and forgives him for ‘abusing him without cause’.


After a week of marriage, Amelia feels neglected by Osborne as he spends time with Rawdon and Becky. He is also losing money playing cards. With Dobbin’s news of war, it is decided that Becky and Amelia will also come to Belgium.


The narrative shifts to Mrs Bute Crawley and how she is pressing her advantage too far. She is making Miss Crawley depressed and is overbearing with the servants. She has to leave Brighton when her husband breaks his collar bone and because Becky is so friendly to Briggs (after seeing her bathing), Briggs tells her about what has happened. Becky dictates a letter for Rawdon to write to his aunt and lets her know that Mrs Bute Crawley encouraged his attachment to Becky (which is true). Despite Becky’s attempts, Miss Crawley can see that Becky dictated this as Rawdon usually writes to her to ask for money. After agreeing to meet Rawdon alone, Miss Crawley writes to thank him for coming to Brighton. She tells him to visit her solicitor in London; he expects £200 but only receives £20.


In Chapter Twenty Six, Amelia visits her parents in London and Osborne collects his £2,000. He pays for her shopping with ‘the splendour of a lord’. Amelia is invited by Mrs O’Dowd (the Major’s wife) to meet the other wives of the regiment in Chapter Twenty Seven. They are friendly towards her until the husbands arrive.


The regiment is transported to Ostend in Chapter Twenty Eight, and Amelia and Mrs O’Dowd are escorted there by Joseph. He is described as showing no fear for Bonaparte, but we are also reminded that he is not fighting. There is a shift to Brussels and a description of Lieutenant-General Tufto. Osborne notices him and says how the Crawleys will also be present as Rawdon is his aide-de-camp. Amelia does not know why, but suddenly the day does not seem to shine so bright.


Chapter Twenty Nine begins at the opera house. Osborne visits Becky in her box and General Tufto is jealous of his attentions to her. Amelia is also jealous of how he treats Becky now. When Dobbin describes Becky as a ‘humbug’, Osborne defends her and says she is ‘the nicest little woman in England’.


Osborne and Amelia have only been married for six weeks, but already he allows Becky to sneer at her without offering a defence. He also takes pleasure in Becky flirting with him. He spends more time with the Crawleys; he enjoys the flirtation with Becky and loses money to Rawdon in card games. At a ball, Osborne leaves Amelia sitting down with Dobbin for company. When Becky leaves, Osborne puts a note in her bouquet. Amelia does not notice this, but asks Dobbin to take her home. Osborne stays out drinking and gambling until Dobbin arrives to inform him that they are to march in three hours. At the knowledge of leaving, Osborne is remorseful for neglecting Amelia.


Chapter Thirty relates how Mrs O’Dowd helps her husband in his preparations for war. The narrative then shifts to Rawdon and how he loves Becky. For the first time, he is worried about the debts they have accumulated and is concerned about her future if he dies. The narrative finally moves to Dobbin telling Joseph the army is leaving for war and how he wants him to protect Amelia.


In Chapter Thirty One, it is the next day and Joseph gets up late (despite the news of war) and prepares himself with the help of his servant, Isidor. Becky visits Amelia, and Amelia reproaches her for coming between her and her husband (but it is clear she does not know about Osborne’s note). The chapter ends with cannon fire and people running in the street.


Analysis - Chapters Twenty Five, Twenty Six, Twenty Seven, Twenty Eight, Twenty Nine, Thirty and Thirty One

Chapter Twenty Nine is significant for the descriptions of Osborne’s neglect of Amelia in preference for Becky’s flirtations. This is an important section when looking back at the whole novel as Amelia goes on to consider Osborne as saint-like after his death. This is a reminder of his vanity and disloyalty after only six weeks of marriage. By contrast, Dobbin demonstrates his concern for Amelia to the point of asking her brother to take care of her in Chapter Thirty.


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