Study Guide

Vanity Fair Chapter 29

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Chapter 29


  • Out for a drive the next day, George, Amelia, Mrs. O'Dowd, and Jos run into Becky and Rawdon.
  • Becky has now become pretty high and mighty. She is riding in a little group of horsemen, looking fantastic. In the group, Mrs. O'Dowd spots Wellington, the commander in chief of the whole army! (The guy who beat Napoleon at Waterloo!) Jos freaks out stalker style, and the celebrity spotting is the only thing they talk about for the rest of the day.
  • That night, everyone goes to the Opera.
  • Amelia and company sit on one box and see Becky, Rawdon, and General Tufto in another box across the way. Mrs. O'Dowd recognizes Tufto and sees that Becky is now holding the bouquet of flowers he bought earlier.
  • George instantly runs to Becky's box to say hello.
  • On the way, he runs into Rawdon, who invites him to dinner and gambling.
  • George then goes in the box, where Becky starts to flirt with him, obviously (to everyone except George, who thinks he's quite the lady-killer) to make General Tufto jealous. It works really well: Tufto is furious and snarling.
  • Then Becky decides to go to Amelia's box to say hello.
  • In the box, she is lively and chatty, clearly acting for the benefit of General Tufto, who is watching her with his opera binoculars.
  • Dobbin is grossed out by her behavior and complains to George. George is having none of it and finds Becky delightful. Dobbin then warns George to stop gambling with Rawdon, but George isn't having any of that either.
  • George starts hanging out at Becky and Rawdon's place a lot. Turns out they live in a little apartment in General Tufto's house. Amelia is cold to Becky when she visits, and Becky says it must be because Amelia is so scandalized by this living-with-the-General arrangement.
  • George starts coming over to visit Becky by himself. He plays cards and billiards with Rawdon while Becky flirts with him. He doesn't realize that they are using him. He's really a tool.
  • The more into Becky George gets, the more he avoids Dobbin, since that's the only person who calls him out on his nonsense.
  • In a little while, one of the tourist duchesses gives a ball in Brussels. This is the party to end all parties, so everyone is desperate for an invitation. Everyone we know somehow manages to get tickets, except Jos and Mrs. O'Dowd.
  • George orders a new dress for Amelia, brings her to this huge ball where she knows no one, and immediately abandons her. He's pretty pleased with himself for even bringing her there in the first place, since now she can "amuse herself as she liked" (29.53) Um, yeah, it's kind of hard for her to be amused when no one wants her.
  • Then Becky arrives. She is magnificently dressed and instantly becomes the life of the party and belle of the ball. George instantly wants to spend time only with her.
  • Becky comes over to Amelia and patronizes and sneers at her. This kills poor defenseless Amelia, who just blanks out and spends the rest of the night sitting on a chair without moving or speaking.
  • George dances with Becky nonstop.
  • At the end of the evening, he runs to fetch Becky's shawl and flowers, and when he gives them to her, she sees that there is a secret note inside the bouquet. Which is clearly beyond awful. Guys married for six weeks aren't supposed to be writing secret notes to other women.
  • Amelia sees George run off to take care of Becky and is just done for. She calls Dobbin by his first name (William) and asks him to take her home.
  • Meanwhile, George is totally crazily keyed up. He goes off to play cards, then gets wasted. Finally Dobbin finds him and tells him that the left flank of the army is already engaged in combat and that they (the right flank) are to march to the front in three hours. Dum-duh-dum.
  • George goes home to pack. At first he is all nervous excitement. Then he starts feeling sad and guilty about his stupid life.
  • He writes a letter to his father, feeling awful for disobeying him about the marriage.
  • Then he goes to look at his sleeping wife and is overcome with shame and remorse. She wakes up and hugs him as the military bugles starts blowing outside.

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