In Which Miss Crawley’s Relations Are Very Anxious About Her
The kind reader must please to remember–while the army is marching from Flanders, and, after its heroic actions there, is advancing to take the fortifications on the frontiers of France, previous to an occupation of that country–that there are a number of persons living peaceably in England who have to do with the history at present in hand, and must come in for their share of the chronicle. During the time of these battles and dangers, old Miss Crawley was living at Brighton, very moderately moved by the great events that were going on. The great events rendered the newspapers rather interesting, to be sure, and Briggs read out the Gazette, in which Rawdon Crawley’s gallantry was mentioned with honour, and his promotion was presently recorded.
“What a pity that young man has taken such an irretrievable step in the world!” his aunt said; “with his rank and distinction he might have married a brewer’s daughter with a quarter of a million–like Miss Grains; or have looked to ally himself with the best families in England. He would have had my money some day or other; or his children would–for I’m not in a hurry to go, Miss Briggs, although you may be in a hurry to be rid of me; and instead of that, he is a doomed pauper, with a dancing-girl for a wife.”
“Will my dear Miss Crawley not cast an eye of compassion upon the heroic soldier, whose name is inscribed in the annals of his country’s glory?” said Miss Briggs, who was greatly excited by the Waterloo proceedings, and loved speaking romantically when there was an occasion. “Has not the Captain–or the Colonel as I may now style him–done deeds which make the name of Crawley illustrious?”
“Briggs, you are a fool,” said Miss Crawley: “Colonel Crawley has dragged the name of Crawley through the mud, Miss Briggs. Marry a drawing-master’s daughter, indeed!–marry a dame de compagnie–for she was no better, Briggs; no, she was just what you are–only younger, and a great deal prettier and cleverer. Were you an accomplice of that abandoned wretch, I wonder, of whose vile arts he became a victim, and of whom you used to be such an admirer? Yes, I daresay you were an accomplice. But you will find yourself disappointed in my will, I can tell you: and you will have the goodness to write to Mr. Waxy, and say that I desire to see him immediately.” Miss Crawley was now in the habit of writing to Mr. Waxy her solicitor almost every day in the week, for her arrangements respecting her property were all revoked, and her perplexity was great as to the future disposition of her money.