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
WHELP-HUNTING

BEFORE the ring formed round the Old Hell Shaft was broken, one figure had disappeared from within it. Mr. Bounderby and his shadow had not stood near Louisa, who held her father's arm, but in a retired place by themselves. When Mr. Gradgrind was summoned to the couch, Sissy, attentive to all that happened, slipped behind that wicked shadow--a sight in the horror of his face, if there had been eyes there for any sight but one--and whispered in his ear. Without turning his head, he conferred with her a few moments, and vanished. Thus the whelp had gone out of the circle before the people moved.

When the father reached home, he sent a message to Mr. Bounderby's, desiring his son to come to him directly. The reply was, that Mr. Bounderby having missed him in the crowd, and seeing nothing of him since, had supposed him to be at Stone Lodge.

'I believe, father,' said Louisa, 'he will not come back to town to-night.' Mr. Gradgrind turned away, and said no more.

In the morning, he went down to the Bank himself, as soon as it was opened, and seeing his son's place empty (he had not the courage to look in at first) went back along the street to meet Mr. Bounderby on his way there. To whom he said that, for reasons he would soon explain, but entreated not then to be asked for, he had found it necessary to employ his son at a distance for a little while. Also, that he was charged with the duty of vindicating Stephen Blackpool's memory, and declaring the thief. Mr. Bounderby quite confounded, stood stock-still in the street after his father-in-law had left him, swelling like an immense soap-bubble, without its beauty.

Mr. Gradgrind went home, locked himself in his room, and kept it all that day. When Sissy and Louisa tapped at his door, he said, without opening it, 'Not now, my dears; in the evening.' On their return in the evening, he said, 'I am not able yet--to-morrow.' He ate nothing all day, and had no candle after dark; and they heard him walking to and fro late at night.

-245-

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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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