down only three, It was an appropriate occasion for Mr. Bounderby
44-6 Hard Times.
to discuss the flavour of the hap'orth of stewed eels he had purchased
in the streets at eight years old ; and also of the inferior water,
specially used for laying the dust, with which he had washed down
that repast. He likewise entertained his guest over the soup and fish,
with the calculation that he (Bounderby) had eaten in his youth at
least three horses under the guise of polonies and saveloys. These
recitals, Jem, in a languid manner, received with " charming ! " every
now and then ; and they -probably would have decided him to " go in"
for Jerusalem again to-morrow morning, had he been less curious
" Is there nothing," he thought, glancing at her as she sat at the
head of the table, where her youthful figure, small and slight, but
very graceful, looked as pretty as it looked misplaced ; " is there
nothing that will move that face ? "
Yes ! By Jupiter, there was something, and here it was, in an
unexpected shape. Tom appeared. She changed as the door opened,
and broke into a beaming smile.
A beautiful smile. Mr. James Harthouse might not have thought
so much of it, but that he had wondered so long at her impassive
face. She put out her hand a pretty little soft hand ; and her fingers
closed upon her brother's, as if she would have carried them to her lips.
" Ay, ay ? " thought the visitor. " This whelp is the only creature
she cares for. So, so ! "
The whelp was presented, and took his chair. The appellation
was not flattering, but not unmerited.
" When I was your age, young Tom," said Bounderby, " I was
punctual, or I got no dinner ! "
" When you were my age," returned Tom, " you hadn't a wrong
balance to get right, and hadn't to dress afterwards."
" Never mind that now," said Bounderby.
" Well, then," grumbled Tom. " Don't begin with me."
" Mrs. Bounderby," said Harthouse, perfectly hearing this under-
strain as it went on ; " your brother's face is quite familiar to me.
Can I have seen him abroad ? Or at some public school, perhaps ? "
" No," she returned, quite interested, " he has never been abroad yet,
and was educated here, at home. Tom, love, I am telling Mr. Hart-
house that he never saw you abroad."
" No such luck, sir," said Tom.
There was little enough in him to brighten her face, for he was a
sullen young fellow, and ungracious in his manner even to her. So
much the greater must have been the solitude of her heart, and her
need of some one on whom to bestow it. " So much the more is this
\vhelp the only creature she has ever cared for," thought Mr. James
Harthouse, turning it over and over. " So much the more. So much
Both in his sister's presence, and after she had left the room, the
whelp took no pains to hide his contempt for Mr. Bounderby, when-
The Whelp. 447
ever he could indulge it without the observation of that independent
man, by making wry faces, or shutting one eye. Without responding
to these telegraphic communications, Mr. Harthouse encouraged him
much in the course of the evening, and showed an unusual liking for
him. At last, when he rose to return to his hotel, and was a little
doubtful whether he knew the way by night, the whelp immediately
proffered his services as guide, and turned out with him to escort him
CHAPTEE III. ,
IT was very remarkable that a young gentleman who had been brought
up under one continuous system of unnatural restraint, should be a
hypocrite ; but it was certainly the case with Tom. It was very
strange that a young gentleman who had never been left to his own
guidance for five consecutive minutes, should be incapable at last of
governing himself; but so it was with Tom. It was altogether
unaccountable that a young gentleman whose imagination had been
strangled in his cradle, should be still inconvenienced by its ghost
in the form of grovelling sensualities ; but such a monster, beyond all
doubt, was Tom.
" Do you smoke ? " asked Mr. James Harthouse, when they came to
" I believe you ! " said Tom.
He could do no less than ask Tom up ; and Tom could do no less
than go up. What with a cooling drink adapted to the weather, but
not so weak as cool ; and what with a rarer tobacco than was to be
bought in those parts ; Tom was soon in a highly free and easy state
at his end of the sofa, and more than ever disposed to admire his new
friend at the other end.
Tom blew his smoke aside, after he had been smoking a little while,
and took an observation of his friend. " He don't seem to care
about his dress," thought Tom, " and yet how capitally he does it.
What an easy swell he is ! "
Mr. James Harthouse, happening to catch Tom's eye, remarked that
he drank nothing, and filled his glass with his own negligent hand.
" Thank'ee," said Tom. " Thank'ee. Well, Mr. Harthouse, I hope
you have had about a dose of old Bounderby to-night." Tom said
this with one eye shut up again, and looking over his glass knowingly,
at his entertainer.
" A very good fellow indeed ! " returned Mr. James Harthouse.
" You think so, don't you ? " said Tom. And shut up his eye again.
448 Hard Times.
Mr. James Harthouse smiled ; and rising from his end of the sofa,
and lounging with his back against the chimney-piece, so that ho
stood before the empty fire-grate as he smoked, in front of Tom and
looking down at him, observed :
" What a comical brother-in-law you are ! "
"What a comical brother-in-law old Bounderby is, I think you
mean," said Tom.
" You are a piece of caustic, Tom," retorted Mr. James Harthouse.
There was something so very agreeable in being so intimate with
such a waistcoat ; in being called Tom, in such an intimate way, by
such a voice ; in being on such off-hand terms so soon, with such
a pair of whiskers ; that Tom was uncommonly pleased with himself.
" Oh ! I don't care for old Bounderby," said he, " if you mean that.
I have always called old Bounderby by the same name when I have
talked about him, and I have always thought of him in the same way.
I am not going to begin to be polite now, about old Bounderby. It
would be rather late in the day."
" Don't mind me," returned James ; " but take care when his wife
is by, you know." \
"His wife?" said Tom. "My sister Loo? O yes!" And he
laughed, and took a little more of the cooling drink.
James Harthouse continued to lounge in the same place and atti-
tude, smoking his cigar in his own easy way, and looking pleasantly
at the whelp, as if he knew himself to be a kind of agreeable demon
who had only to hover over him, and he must give up his whole
soul if required. It certainly did seem that the whelp yielded to
this influence. He looked at his companion sneakingly, he looked at
him admiringly, he looked at him boldly, and put up one leg on the
" My sister Loo ? " said Tom. " She never cared for old Bounderby."
" That's the past tense, Tom," returned Mr. James Harthouse,
striking the ash from his cigar with his little finger. " We are in the
present tense, now."
"Verb neuter, not to care. Indicative mood, present tense. First
person singular, I do not care ; second person singular, thou dost not
care ; third person singular, she does not care," returned Tom.
" Good ! Very quaint ! " said his friend. " Though you don't
" But I do mean it," cried Tom. " Upon my honour ! Why, you
won't tell me, Mr. Harthouse, that you really suppose my sister Loo
does care for old Bounderby."
" My dear fellow," returned the other, " what am I bound to suppose,
when I find two married people living in harmony and happiness ? "
Tom had by this time got both his legs on the sofa. If his second
leg had not been already there when he was called a dear fellow, he
would have put it up at that great stage of the conversation. Feeling
it necessary to do something then, he stretched himself put at greater
The Whelp under a Spell. 449
length, and, reclining with the back of his head on the end of the sofa,
and smoking with an infinite assumption of negligence, turned his
common face, and not too sober eyes, towards the face looking down
upon him so carelessly yet so potently.
" You know our governor, Mr. Harthouse," said Tom, " and there-
fore, you needn't be surprised that Loo married old Bounderby.
She never had a lover, and the governor proposed old Bounderby, and
she took him."
" Very dutiful in your interesting sister," said Mr. James Harthouse.
" Yes, but she wouldn't have been as dutiful, and it would not
have come off as easily," returned the whelp, " if it hadn't been
The tempter merely lifted his eyebrows; but the whelp was
obliged to go on.
" / persuaded her," he said, with an edifying air of superiority.
" I was stuck into old Bounderby's bank (where I never wanted to be),
and I knew I should get into scrapes there, if she put old Bounderby's
pipe out ; so I told her my wishes, and she came into them. She
would do anything for me. It was very game of her, wasn't it ? "
" It was charming, Tom ! "
" Not that it was altogether so important to her as it was to me,"
continued Tom coolly, " because my liberty and comfort, and perhaps
my getting on, depended on it ; and she had no other lover, and
staying at home was like staying in jail especially when I was gone.
It wasn't as if she gave up another lover for old Bounderby ; but still
it was a good thing in her."
" Perfectly delightful. And she gets on so placidly."
" Oh," returned Tom, with contemptuous patronage, " she's a
regular girl. A girl can get on anywhere. She has settled down
to the life, and she don't mind. It does just as well as another.
Besides, though Loo is a girl, she's not a common sort of girl. She
can shut herself up within herself, and think as I have often known
her sit and watch the fire for an hour at a stretch."
"Ay, ay? Has resources of her own," said Harthouse, smoking
' : Not so much of that as you may suppose," returned Tom ; " for
our governor had her crammed with all sorts of dry bones and saw-
dust. It's his system."
" Formed his daughter on his own model ? " suggested Harthouse.
" His daughter ? Ah ! and everybody else. Why he formed Me
that way ? " said Tom.
" Impossible ! "
" He did, though," said Tom, shaking his head. " I mean to say,
Mr. Harthouse, that when I first left home and went to old Boun-
derby's, I was as flat as a warming-pan, and knew no more about
life, than any oyster does."
" Come, Tom ! I can hardly believe that. A joke's a joke."
" Upon my soul ! " said the whelp. " I am serious ; I am indeed. ! "
He smoked with great gravity and dignity for a little while, and
then added, in a highly complacent tone, " Oh ! I have picked up a
little since. I don't deny that. But I have done it myself; no
thanks to the governor."
" And your intelligent sister ? "
" My intelligent sister is about where she was. She used to
complain to me that she had nothing to fall back upon, that girls
usually fall back upon ; and I don't see how she is to have got over
that since. But she don't mind," he sagaciously added, puffing at his
cigar again. " Girls can always get on, somehow."
" Calling at the Bank yesterday evening, for Mr. Bounderby's
address, I found an ancient lady there, who seems to entertain great
admiration for your sister," observed Mr. James Harthouse, throwing
away the last small remnant of the cigar he had now smoked out.
" Mother Sparsit ! " said Tom. " What ! you have seen her
already, have you ? "
His friend nodded. Tom took his cigar out of his mouth, to shut
up his eye (which had grown rather unmanageable) with the greater
expression, and to tap his nose several times with his finger.
" Mother Sparsit's feeling for Loo is more than admiration, I
should think," said Tom. " Say affection and devotion. Mother
Sparsit never set her cap at Bounderby when ho was a bachelor.
Oh no ! "
These were the last words spoken by the whelp, before a giddy
drowsiness came upon him, followed by complete oblivion. He was
roused from the latter state by an uneasy dream of being stirred up
with a boot, and also of a voice saying : " Come, it's late. Be off! "
" Well ! " he said, scrambling from the sofa. " I must take my
leave of you though. I say. Yours is very good tobacco. But it's
" Yes, it's too mild," returned his entertainer.
" It's it's ridiculously mild," said Tom. " Where's the door !
Good-night ! "
He had another odd dream of being taken by a waiter through a
mist, which, after giving him some trouble and difficulty, resolved
itself into the main street, in which he stood alone. He then walked
home pretty easily, though not yet free from an impression of the
presence and influence of his new friend as if he were lounging
somewhere in the air, in the same negligent attitude, regarding him
with the same look.
The whelp went home, and went to bed. If he had had any sense
of what he had done that night, and had been less of a whelp and
more of a brother, he might have turned short on the road, might
have gone down to the ill-smelling river that was dyed black, might
have gone to bed in it for good and all, and have curtained his head
for ever with its filthy waters.
MEN AND BROTHERS.
'"On my friends, the down-trodden operatives of CVketown! Oh my
friends and fellow-countrymen, the slaves of an iron-handed and a
grinding despotism ! Oh my friends and fellow-sufferers, and fellow-
workmen, and fellow-men ! I tell you that the hour is come, when
we must rally round ono another as One united power, and crumble
into dust the oppressors that too long have battened upon the
plunder of our families, upon the sweat of our brows, upon the
labour of our hands, upon the strength of our sinews, upon the God-
created glorious rights of Humanity, and upon the holy and eternal
privileges of Brotherhood ! "
" Good ! " " Hear, hear, hear ! " " Hurrah ! " and other cries,
arose in many voices from various parts of the densely crowded and
suffocatingly close Hall, in which the orator, perched on a stage,
delivered himself of this and what other froth and fume he had in
him. He had declaimed himself into a violent heat, and was as
hoarse as he was hot. By dint of roaring at the top of his voice
under a flaring- gas-light, clenching his fists, knitting his brows,
setting his teeth, and pounding with his arms, he had taken so much
out of himself by this time, that he was brought to a stop, and called
for a glass of water.
As he stood there, trying to quench his fiery face with his drink of
water, the comparison between the orator and the crowd of attentive
faces turned towards him, was extremely to his disadvantage.
Judging him by Nature's evidence, he was above the mass in very
little but the stage on which he stood. In many great respects he-
was essentially below them, He was not so honest, he was not so
manly, he was not so good-humoured ; he substituted cunning for
their simplicity, and passion for their safe solid sense. An ill-made,
high-shouldered man, with lowering brows, and his features crushed
into an habitually sour expression, he contrasted most unfavourably,
even in his mongrel dress, with the great body of his hearers in their
plain working clothes. Strange as it always is to consider any
assembly in the act of submissively resigning itself to the dreariness
of some complacent person, lord or commoner, whom three-fourths of
it could, by no human means, raise out of the slough of inanity to
their own intellectual level, it was particularly strange, and it was
even particularly affecting, to see this crowd of earnest faces, whoso
honesty in the main no competent observer free from bias could
doubt, so agitated by such a leader.
Good ! Hear, hear ! Hurrah ! The eagerness both of attention
and intention, exhibited in all the countenances, made them a most
452 Hard Times.
impressive sight. There was no carelessness, no languor, no idle
cariosity ; none of the many shades of indifference to be seen in all
other assemblies, visible for one moment there. That every man felt
his condition to be, romehow or other, worse than it might be ; that
every man consider i it incumbent on him to join the rest, towards
the making of it " jtter ; that every man felt his only hope to be in
his allying him ,if to the comrades by whom he was surrounded ;
and that in this belief, right or wrong (unhappily wrong then), the
whole of that crowd were gravely, deeply, faithfully in earnest ; must
have been as plain to any one who chose to see what was there, as the
bare beams of the roof and the whitened brick walls. Nor could any
such spectator fail to know in his own breast, that these men, through
their very delusions, showed great qualities, susceptible of being
turned to the happiest and best account ; and that to pretend (on the
strength of sweeping axioms, howsoever cut and dried) that they went
astray wholly without cause, and of their own irrational wills, was to
pretend that there could be smoke without fire, death without birth,
harvest without seed, anything or everything produced from nothing.
The orator having refreshed himself, wiped his corrugated fore-
head from left to right several times with his handkerchief folded
into a pad, and concentrated all his revived forces, in a sneer of great
disdain and bitterness.
" But, oh my friends and brothers ! Oh men and Englishmen, the
down-trodden operatives of Coketown ! What shall we say of that
man that working-man, that I should find it necessary so to libel
the glorious name who, being practically and well acquainted with
the grievances and wrongs of you, the injured pith and marrow of
this land, and having heard you, with a noble and majestic unanimity
that will make Tyrants tremble, resolve for to subscribe to the funds
of the United Aggregate Tribunal, and to abide by the injunctions
issued by that body for your benefit, whatever they may be what, I
ask you, will you say of that working-man, since such I must acknow-
ledge him to be, who, at such a time, deserts his post, and sells his
flag ; who, at such a time, turns a traitor and a craven and a
recreant ; who, at such a time, is not ashamed to make to you the
dastardly and humiliating avowal that he will hold himself aloof,
and will not be one of those associated in the gallant stand for
Freedom and for Right ? "
The assembly was divided at this point. There were some groans
and hisses, but the general sense of honour was much too strong for
the condemnation of a man unheard. " Be sure you're right, Slack-
bridge ! " " Put him up ! " " Let's hear him ! " Such things were
said on many sides. Finally, one strong voice called out, " Is the
man heer? If the man's heer, Slackbridge, let's hear the man
himseln, ^stead o' yo." Which was received with a round of
Slackbridge, the orator, looked about him with a withering smile ;
Stephen speaks, 453
and, holding out bis right hand at arm's length (as the manner of all
Slackbridges is), to still the thundering sea, waited until there was a
" Oh my friends and fellow-men ! " said Slackbridge then, shaking
his head with violent scorn, " I do not wonder that you, the prostrate
sons of labour, are incredulous of the existence of such a man. But
he who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage existed, and Judas
Iscariot existed, and Castlereagh existed, and this man exists ! "
Here, a brief press and confusion near the stage, ended in the man
himself standing at the orator's side before the concourse. He was
pale and a little moved in the face his lips especially showed it ;
but he stood quiet, with his left hand at his chin, waiting to be heard.
There was a chairman to regulate the proceedings, and this func-
tionary now took the case into his own hands.
" My friends," said he, " by virtue o' my office as your president, I
ashes o' our friend Slackbridge, who may be a little over better in
this business, to take his seat, whiles this man Stephen Blackpool is
heern. You all know this man Stephen Blackpool. You know him
awluug o' his misfort'ns, and his good name."
With that, the chairman shook him frankly by the hand, and sat
down again. Slackbridge likewise sat down, wiping his hot forehead
always from left to right, and never the reverse way.
" My friends," Stephen began, in the midst of a dead calm ; " I ha'
hed what's been spok'n o' me, and 'tis lickly that I shan't mend it.
But I'd liefer you'd hearn the truth concernin' myseln, fro my lips
than fro onny other man's, though I never cud'n speak afore so
monny, wi'out bein moydert and muddled."
Slackbridge shook his head as if he would shake it off, in his
" I'm th' one single Hand in Bounderby's mill, o' a' the men theer,
as don't coom in wi' th' proposed reg'lations. I canna coom in wi'
'em. My friends, I doubt their doin' yo onny good. Licker they'll
do yo hurt."
Slackbridge laughed, folded his arms, and frowned sarcastically.
" But 'tan't sommuch for that as I stands out. If that were aw,
I'd coom in wi' th' rest. But I ha' my reasons mine, yo see for
being hindered ; not on'y now, but awlus awlus life long ! "
Slackbridge jumped up and stood beside him, gnashing and tear-
ing. " Oh my friends, what but this did I tell you ? Oh my fellow-
countrymen, what warning but this did I give you ? And how shows
this recreant conduct in a man on whom unequal laws are known to
have fallen heavy ? Oh you Englishmen, I ask you how does this
subornation show in one of yourselves, who is thus consenting to
his own undoing and to yours, and to your children's and your
children's children's ? "
There was some applause, and some crying of Shame upon the
man ; but the greater part of the audience were quiet. They looked
454 Hard Times.
at Stephen's worn face, rendered more pathetic by the homely
emotions it evinced ; and, in the kindness of their nature, they were
more sorry than indignant.
" "Tis this Delegate's trade for t' speak," said Stephen, " an' he's
paid for 't, an' he knows his work. Let him keep to 't. Let him
give no heed to what I ha' had'n to bear. That's not for him. That's
not for nobbody but me."
There was a propriety, not to say a dignity in these words, that
made the hearers yet more quiet and attentive. The same strong
voice called out, " Slackbridge, let the man be heern, and howd thee
tongue ! " Then the place was wonderfully still.
" My brothers," said Stephen, whose low voice was distinctly
heard, (t and my fellow-workmen for that yo are to me, though not,
as I knows on, to this delegate here I ha' but a word to sen, and I
could sen nommore if I was to speak till Strike o' day. I know weel
aw what's afore me. I know weel that yo aw resolve to ha' nommore
ado \vi' a man who is not wi' yo in this matther. I know weel that
if I was a lyin' parisht i' th' road, yo'd feel it right to pass me
by, as a forrenner and stranger. What I ha' getn, I mun inak th'
" Stephen Blackpool," said the chairman, rising, " think on 't agen.
Think on 't once agen, lad, afore thou'rt shunned by aw owd
There was an universal murmur to the same effect, though no man
articulated a word. Every eye was fixed on Stephen's face. To
repent of his determination, would be to take a load from all their
minds. He looked around him, and knew that it was so. Not a
grain of anger with them was in his heart ; he knew them, far below
their surface weaknesses and misconceptions, as no one but their
" I ha thowt on 't, above a bit, sir. I simply canna coom in. I
muu go th' way as lays afore me. I mun tak my leave o' aw heer."
He made a sort of reverence to them by holding up his arms, and
stood for the moment in that attitude : not speaking until they slowly
dropped at his sides.
" Monny's the pleasant word as soom heer has spok'n wi' me ;
monny's the face I see heer, as I first seen when I were yoong and
lighter heart'n than now. I ha never had no fratch afore, sin ever I
were born, wi' any o' my like ; Gonnows I ha' none now that's o' my
makin'. Yo'll ca' me traitor and that yo I mean t' say," addressing
Slackbridge, " but 'tis easier to ca' than mak' out. So let be."
He had moved away a pace or two to come down from the plat-
form, when he remembered something he had not said, and returned
" Haply," he said, turning his furrowed face slowly about, that he
might as it were individually address the whole audience, those both
near and distant ; " haply, when this question has been tak'n up and