The Great Manufacturer
TIME WENT ON in Coketown like its own machinery: so much material wrought up, so much fuel consumed, so many powers worn out, so much money made. But, less inexorable than iron, steel, and brass, it brought its varying seasons even into that wilderness of smoke and brick, and made the only stand that ever was made in the place against its direful uniformity.
Louisa is becoming, said Mr Gradgrind, almost a young woman.
Time with his innumerable horse-power, worked away, not minding what anybody said, and presently turned out young Thomas a foot taller than when his father had last taken particular notice of him.
Thomas is becoming, said Mr Gradgrind, almost a young man.
Time passed Thomas on in the mill, while his father was thinking about it, and there he stood in a long- tailed coat and a stiff shirt-collar.
Really, said Mr Gradgrind, the period has arrived when Thomas ought to go to Bounderby.
Time, sticking to him, passed him on into Bounderbys bank, made him an inmate of Bounderbys house, necessitated the purchase of his first razor, and exercised him diligently in his calculations relative to number one.
The same great manufacturer, always with an immense variety of work on hand, in every stage of development, passed Sissy onward in his mill, and worked her up into a very pretty article indeed.
I fear, Jupe, said Mr Gradgrind, that your continuance at the school any longer would be useless.
I am afraid it would, sir, Sissy answered with a curtsey.
I cannot disguise from you, Jupe, said Mr Gradgrind, knitting his brow, that the result of your probation there has disappointed me; has greatly disappointed me. You have not acquired, under Mr and Mrs MChoakumchild, anything like that amount of exact knowledge which I looked for. You are extremely deficient in your facts. Your acquaintance with figures is very limited. You are altogether backward, and below the mark.
I am sorry, sir, she returned; but I know it is quite true. Yet I have tried hard, sir.
Yes, said Mr Gradgrind, yes, I believe you have tried hard; I have observed you, and I can find no fault in that respect.
Thank you, sir. I have thought sometimes; Sissy very timid here; that perhaps I tried to learn too much, and that if I had asked to be allowed to try a little less, I might have
No, Jupe, no, said Mr Gradgrind, shaking his head in his profoundest and most eminently practical way. No. The course you pursued, you pursued according to the system the system and there is no more to be said about it. I can only suppose that the circumstances of your early life were too unfavourable to the development of your reasoning powers, and that we began too late. Still, as I have said already, I am disappointed.
I wish I could have made a better acknowledgment, sir, of your kindness to a poor forlorn girl who had no claim upon you, and of your protection of her.
Dont shed tears, said Mr Gradgrind. Dont shed tears. I dont complain of you. You are an affectionate, earnest, good young woman and and we must make that do.
Thank you, sir, very much, said Sissy, with a grateful curtsey.
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