Study Guide

Vanity Fair Chapter 27

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Chapter 27

In which Amelia joins Her Regiment

  • Amelia, George, and Jos make their way to Chatham, the staging ground for the deployment. It's not really clear why Jos is coming with them, but whatever. Dobbin is already there.
  • In the inn Amelia finds a letter addressed to herself, and George recognizes the handwriting of Peggy O'Dowd, the wife of the regiment's major.
  • The letter is an invitation to dinner that night, but Mrs. O'Dowd can't wait and bursts into the room five minutes later.
  • Peggy is one of the novel's comic-relief characters. Or at least she starts out that way. She is Irish – clearly, from her name – and her Irish accent is written out (though her similarly Irish husband's is not). She is loud, a little vulgar, and generally convinced that her noble Irish family is very famous and that Ireland is the world's best country. Still, the narrator doesn't dislike her, so her ego doesn't come off as nearly as unpleasant as George's – she's funny rather than jerky.
  • Peggy instantly tells Amelia her whole life story. She was one of eleven children, descended from the Malonys of Glenmalony and Ballymalony and related to Lord Poldoody (all meant to be funny-sounding Irish geographical names).
  • When she was 33, she asked her cousin Mick O'Dowd to ask her to marry him, which he did.
  • Major Mick O'Dowd is a very pleasant, quiet, agreeable, unassuming man, who clearly loves his wife and does whatever she says. At the same time, he is an extremely brave soldier who has earned his rank through heroics in combat and daring war strategy.
  • Peggy then goes on to tell Amelia all about everyone else in the regiment and welcomes her to the big army family.
  • Amelia is happy at this reception, and at dinner that night she is pretty and popular with the soldiers, and even George seems more attentive and nicer to her than usual.
  • Dobbin is at the dinner too and silently watches her, then goes outside to smoke a cigar and think.

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