Study Guide

Vanity Fair Chapter 63

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Chapter 63

In which we meet an old Acquaintance

  • Immediately Jos starts getting himself into the highest ranks of the little town's society.
  • The British ambassador to the town, Lord Tapeworm, makes friends with everyone. He recommends a doctor whose miracle diet will make Jos skinny (which Jos is totally psyched for), flirts with Amelia (who doesn't really get what he's doing), and gets them all invited to dinner at court with the local duke and duchess.
  • When Amelia is all dressed up for going to court, her beauty knocks Dobbin's socks off.
  • Pumpernickel is a lovely little place, with cute architecture, beautiful gardens, great theater, and a small but very fancy court.
  • All the nobles and aristocrats that find themselves there together become friends because society is less formal abroad.
  • The politics of the place revolve around which soprano is better at the opera and the blood feud between Tapeworm and his French counterpart.
  • Everyone has a great time, and even Amelia finally finds some people to be friends with.
  • Soon a royal wedding is going to be celebrated, so a big festival is set up. There's lots of food, of course, and games for the peasants. One of these games is climbing up a pole to get a prize at the top. George Jr. gets one of the prizes and gives it away to a peasant.
  • The other fun thing is a gambling room that's set up for just one week.
  • George Jr. goes there with Jos's valet and sees that there are women gambling there, not just men. Because this is kind of taboo, the women are allowed to wear masks.
  • George Jr. sees one masked woman playing roulette and constantly losing until her last two coins are gone. She turns around and looks at George Jr. for a little while, then asks him in French whether he'd like to play.
  • She gives him a gold coin from her purse and tells him to put it on any number. He does and immediately wins – beginner's luck.
  • She thanks him and he tells her that his name is Osborne. He is about to talk to her more when Dobbin grabs him by the shoulder and drags him out of there.
  • Who is the mystery woman, you're all wondering? OK, probably not. It's not really that much of a mystery.
  • In any case, Dobbin yells at Jos and his valet for bringing George Jr. to the gambling room. But they are both pretty drunk and not worth arguing with, so Dobbin just takes George Jr. home and gives him a stern lecture about never ever gambling.
  • Jos meanwhile comes to table where the woman is and sits down next to her.
  • She suddenly tells him that his nephew is the spitting image of his father and that she has never forgotten him and their earlier times together.
  • Jos kind of flips out and demands to know who she is.
  • And it's...Becky. Of course.
  • Becky tries one last bet and even cheats to move her piece from red to black, but loses again when red comes up. Then she tells Jos to find her at her hotel.

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