Study Guide

Vanity Fair Chapter 31

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Chapter 31

In which Jos Sedley takes Care of his Sister

  • Jos is, all things being equal, pretty happy that George is gone. George used to mock him mercilessly.
  • He is getting ready for breakfast, but Amelia is too ill to come out of her room and join him.
  • Instead he talks to his servant Isidor, who periodically goes into town to try to get whatever news he can about the war. Right now the news is basically that Napoleon is kicking butt and taking names. According to Isidor, the Duke of Wellington is about to flee the country.
  • Jos doesn't really believe it but is a little nervous about the reports.
  • Isidor, meanwhile, is really pro-Napoleon. Not least because if the English are chased out of Belgium or imprisoned or whatever, then all the belongings of the Osbornes and of Jos will go to him. As he gets Jos ready every morning, he mentally tabulates every item and figures out how he will use it.
  • It's a funny moment and also, reminds the reader of Becky and Rawdon's somewhat similar list-making in the last chapter.
  • When Jos is putting on his military-style coat, Becky walks in.
  • At first she makes fun of Jos for looking like he wants to join the army. Then she starts to flirt with him. She basically tells him that she still has feelings for him, and that Rawdon is very jealous of him. It's really easy as pie, and Jos instantly has the hots for her again.
  • Meanwhile, Becky thinks that by doing this, she has found herself a good seat in Jos's carriage should the British need to flee Brussels. Jos obviously doesn't get that he's being used.
  • Becky then goes in to see Amelia.
  • For the first time in her life, Amelia sort of stands up for herself and lets Becky have it.
  • She tells Becky that she has been a good friend to her and asks why Becky felt the need to take George away from her even though they've only been married for six weeks.
  • Becky actually genuinely starts to feel bad, although she is also proud to be on the receiving end of this, since Amelia is basically conceding defeat.
  • Then Amelia starts ranting and raving, and her conversation veers towards crazy.
  • Becky starts to actually worry about Amelia, goes out, and finds Mrs. O'Dowd.
  • Mrs. O'Dowd is huffy that Becky is talking to her, but Becky just tells her to go deal with Amelia, since she is clearly not doing well.
  • Mrs. O'Dowd does succeed in making Amelia pull it together somewhat. She then goes to have lunch with Jos, when all of a sudden there is a loud noise outside...gunfire and the sounds of cannon!

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