Hard Times for These Times; Pictures from Italy; Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings; Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy

By Charles Dickens | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
MRS. SPARSIT

MR. BOUUNDERBY being a bachelor, an elderly lady presided over his establishment, in consideration of a certain annual stipend. Mrs. Sparsit was this lady's name; and she was a prominent figure in attendance on Mr. Bounderby's car, as it rolled along in triumph with the Bully of humility inside.

For, Mrs. Sparsit had not only seen different days, but was highly connected. She had a great aunt living in these very times called Lady Scadgers. Mr. Sparsit, deceased, of whom she was the relict, had been by the mother's side what Mrs. Sparsit called 'a Powler.' Strangers of limited information and dull apprehension were sometimes observed not to know what a Powler was, and even to appear uncertain whether it might be a business, or a political party, or a profession of faith. The better class of minds, however, did not need to be informed that the Powlers were an ancient stock, who could trace themselves so exceedingly far back that it was not surprising if they sometimes lost themselves--which they had rather frequently done, as respected horse- flesh, blind-hookey, Hebrew monetary transactions, and the Insolvent Debtors Court.

The late Mr. Sparsit, being by the mother's side a Powler, married this lady, being by the father's side a Scadgers. Lady Scadgers (an immensely fat old woman, with an inordinate appetite for butcher's meat, and a mysterious leg which had now refused to get out of bed for fourteen years) contrived the marriage, at a period when Sparsit was just of age, and chiefly noticeable for a slender body, weakly supported on two long slim props, and surmounted by no head worth mentioning. He inherited a fair fortune from his uncle, but owed it all before he came into it, and spent it twice over immediately afterwards. Thus, when he died, at twenty-four (the scene of his decease, Calais, and the cause, brandy), he did not leave his widow, from whom he had been separated soon after the honeymoon, in affluent circumstances. That bereaved lady, fifteen years older than he, fell presently at deadly feud with her only relative, Lady Scadgers;

-37-

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Hard Times for These Times; Pictures from Italy; Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings; Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Hard Times - Book the First Sowing 1
  • Chapter IV - Mr. Bounderby 7
  • Chapter V - The Key-Note 19
  • Chapter VII - Mrs. Sparsit 37
  • Chapter XI - No Way Out 56
  • Chapter XII - The Old Woman 61
  • Chapter XIII - Rachael 73
  • Chapter XV - Father and Daughter 80
  • Chapter XVI - Husband and Wife 85
  • Book the Second - Reaping 98
  • Chapter IV - Men and Brothers 123
  • Chapter VI - Fading Away 130
  • Chapter VII - Gunpowder 136
  • Chapter VIII - Explosion 147
  • Chapter IX Hearing the Last of It 159
  • Chapter X - Mrs. Sparsit's Staircase 171
  • Chapter XI - Lower and Lower 178
  • Chapter XII - Down 191
  • Book the Third - Garnering 196
  • Chapter II - Very Ridiculous 202
  • Chapter III - Very Decided 211
  • Chapter IV - Lost 219
  • Chapter VI - The Starlight 227
  • Chapter VII - Whelp-Hunting 245
  • Chapter IX - Final 255
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