Study Guide

Vanity Fair Chapter 26

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Chapter 26

Between London and Chatham

  • Amelia, Dobbin, Jos, and George head back to London.
  • The more we see of George, the more jerk-tastic he is turning out to be. On their trip back he insists on renting a super-swanky hotel suite and going out to the most expensive restaurant he can find. Ostensibly this is all for Amelia, because "as long as there's a shot in the locker, she shall want for nothing" (26.3). Too bad there's really not all that much shot in that locker; soon they're going to be totally bankrupt.
  • Amelia asks to go see her mother, and George is sort of annoyed that she wants to go to the poor neighborhood where the Sedleys now live. Welcome to reality, George.
  • It's only been nine days since the wedding, but it feels like forever ago to Amelia. She hugs her mom, looks at her old room, and studies George's portrait. She's jealous of Becky and upset that George is out every night without her, but she still can't admit to herself how crummy he is.
  • Still, she makes the best of the visit, chats with her parents, and is happier when she gets back to the fancy-pants hotel.
  • The next day George goes downtown to transact what he thinks is "business." The narrator mocks him mercilessly because he is the laziest, most good-for-nothing loser around but carries himself like he's God's gift to humanity.
  • He has no sense of money, and though his father has worked tirelessly all his life, George has been brought up to lead a life of leisure and lacks any useful skills. This was his father's idea of what a gentleman should be – but to be a gentleman like that you need to be really rich.
  • Anyhoodle, George sends Amelia off to buy some suitably spiffy clothes, since he's such a fine gentleman and all. Clearly they can't actually afford them, but he is stubborn and kind of stupid.
  • Meanwhile, George goes to see Mr. Higgs, his father's lawyer, to get a check for the small inheritance his mother left him. It's two thousand pounds, and he spends something like a hundred a week, at least. You do the math!
  • At Mr. Higgs's office, he acts all superior and haughty and doesn't notice that even the lowliest clerks are mocking and sneering at him.
  • Higgs is totally calm and indifferent, gives him the check, and forgets about him.
  • George then goes to the bank and cashes the check. There he runs into Fred Bullock, who of course reports back to Mr. Osborne how obnoxiously George was acting. This makes Mr. Osborne all the more angry and all the more set to never forgive his son.
  • George, totally oblivious of all this, pays for Amelia's clothing, the hotel and the restaurant, convinced that he is quite the aristocrat.

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