by William Makepeace Thackeray
Vanity Fair Jealousy Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
When Sir Pitt Crawley heard that Rebecca was married to his son, he broke out into a fury of language, which it would do no good to repeat in this place, as indeed it sent poor Briggs shuddering out of the room; and with her we will shut the door upon the figure of the frenzied old man, wild with hatred and insane with baffled desire. (16.49)
The novel unsurprisingly values beauty and youth, so the idea of an old man being this crazed with lust is meant to be an unpleasant image.
[W]ith a purple choking face, [Mr. Osborne] then began. "How dare you, sir, mention that person's name before Miss Swartz to-day, in my drawing-room? I ask you, sir, how dare you do it?"
"Stop, sir," says George, "don't say dare, sir. Dare isn't a word to be used to a Captain in the British Army."
"I shall say what I like to my son, sir. I can cut him off with a shilling if I like. I can make him a beggar if I like. I WILL say what I like," the elder said.
"I'm a gentleman though I AM your son, sir," George answered haughtily. "Any communications which you have to make to me, or any orders which you may please to give, I beg may be couched in that kind of language which I am accustomed to hear."
Whenever the lad assumed his haughty manner, it always created either great awe or great irritation in the parent. Old Osborne stood in secret terror of his son as a better gentleman than himself; and perhaps my readers may have remarked in their experience of this Vanity Fair of ours, that there is no character which a low-minded man so much mistrusts as that of a gentleman. (21.35-39)
Osborne has worked all his life to make a gentleman of his son, but when George actually starts acting like one, he doesn't like what he sees. George takes on not just the outward qualities of a gentleman – good looks, good manners, and money – he also sometimes busts out the whole "honor" thing. This is extremely threatening to Osborne, most likely because honor and smart business practices don't really mix. When George talks about his gentlemanly honor, Osborne feels his son is overstepping him socially and cannot help but be envious of his creation.
"Talk about kenal boats; my dear! Ye should see the kenal boats between Dublin and Ballinasloe. It's there the rapid travelling is; and the beautiful cattle. Sure me fawther got a goold medal (and his Excellency himself eat a slice of it, and said never was finer mate in his loif) for a four-year-old heifer, the like of which ye never saw in this country any day." And Jos owned with a sigh, "that for good streaky beef, really mingled with fat and lean, there was no country like England."
"Except Ireland, where all your best mate comes from," said the Major's lady; proceeding, as is not unusual with patriots of her nation, to make comparisons greatly in favour of her own country. (28.11-12)
Mrs. O'Dowd is a wonderful character, and her reverse jealousy of England is one of the hilarious stand-bys in the novel. No matter what comes up in conversation, she is bound to insist that its Irish counterpart is bigger, faster, and generally better in every way. But she does all of this so calmly and unemotionally that she is kind of the antithesis of jealousy.