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

By Charles Dickens | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
DOWN

THE national dustmen, after entertaining one another with a great many noisy little fights among themselves, had dispersed for the present, and Mr. Gradgrind was at home for the vacation.

He sat writing in the room with the deadly statistical clock, proving something no doubt probably, in the main, that the Good Samaritan was a Bad Economist. The noise of the rain did not disturb him much; but it attracted his attention sufficiently to make him raise his head sometimes, as if he were rather remonstrating with the elements. When it thundered very loudly, he glanced towards Coketown, having it in his mind that some of the tall chimneys might be struck by lightning.

The thunder was rolling into distance, and the rain was pouring down like a deluge, when the door of his room opened. He looked round the lamp upon his table, and saw, with amazement, his eldest daughter.

' Louisa!'

'Father, I want to speak to you.'

'What is the matter? How strange you look! And good Heaven,' said Mr. Gradgrind, wondering more and more, 'have you come here exposed to this storm?'

She put her hands to her dress, as if she hardly knew. 'Yes.' Then she uncovered her head, and letting her cloak and hood fall where they might, stood looking at him: so colourless, so dishevelled, so defiant and despairing, that he was afraid of her.

'What is it? I conjure you, Louisa, tell me what is the matter.'

She dropped into a chair before him, and put her cold hand on his arm.

'Father, you have trained me from my cradle?'

'Yes, Louisa.'

'I curse the hour in which I was born to such a destiny.'

He looked at her in doubt and dread, vacantly repeating: 'Curse the hour? Curse the hour?'

'How could you give me life, and take from me all the inappreciable things that raise it from the state of conscious death?

-191-

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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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