this snng little estate, and with demonstrative humility to grow
cabbages in the flower-garden. He delighted to live, barrack-fashion,
among the elegant furniture, and he bullied the very pictures with
his origin. " Why, sir," he would say to a visitor, " I am told that
Nickits," the late owner, " gave seven hundred pound for that Sea-
beach. Now, to be plain with you, if I ever, in the whole course of
my life, take seven looks at it, at a hundred pound a look, it will be
as much as I shall do. No, by George ! I don't forget that I am
Josiah Bounderby of Coketown. For years upon years, the only
pictures in my possession, or that I could have got into my possession,
by any means, unless I stole 'em, were the engravings of a man
shaving himself in a boot, on the blacking bottles that I was overjoyed
to use in cleaning boots with, and that I sold when they were empty
for a farthing a-piece, and glad to get it ! "
Then he would address Mr. Harthouse in the same style.
" Harthouse, you have a couple of horses down here. Bring half a
dozen more if you like, and we'll find room for 'em. There's stabling
in this place for a dozen horses ; and unless Nickits is belied, he kept
the full number. A round dozen of 'em sir. When that man was a
boy, he went to Westminster School. Went to Westminster School
as a King's Scholar, when I was principally living on garbage, and
sleeping in market baskets. Why, if I wanted to keep a dozen horses
- which I don't, for one's enough for me I couldn't bear to see 'em
in their stalls here, and think what my own lodging used to be. I
couldn't look at 'em sir, and not order 'em out. Yet so things come
round. You see this place ; you know what sort of a place it is ; you
are aware that there's not a completer place of its size in this kingdom
or elsewhere I don't care where and here, got into the middle of it,
like a maggot into a nut, is Josiah Bounderby. While Nickits (as a
man came into my office, and told me yesterday), Nickits, who used to
act in Latin, in the Westminster School plays, with the chief-justices
and nobility of this country applauding him till they were black in
the face, is drivelling at this minute drivelling, sir ! in a fifth
floor, up a narrow dark back street in Antwerp."
It was among the leafy shadows of this retirement, in the long
sultry summer days, that Mr. Harthouse began to prove the face
which had set him wondering when he first saw it, and to try if it
would change for him.
" Mrs. Bounderby, I esteem it a most fortunate accident that I find
you alone here. I have for some time had a particular wish to speak
It was not by any wonderful accident that he found her, the time of
day being that at which she was always alone, and the place being
her favourite resort. It was an opening in a dark wood, where some
felled trees lay, and where she would sit watching the fallen leaves of
last year, as she had watched the falling ashes at home.
He sat down beside her, with a glance at her face.
474 Hard Times.
" Your brother. My young friend Tom :
Her colour brightened, and she turned to him with a look of
interest. " I never in my life," he thought, " saw anything so
remarkable and so captivating as the lighting of those features ! "
His face betrayed his thoughts perhaps without betraying him, for
it might have been according to its instructions so to do.
" Pardon me. The expression of your sisterly interest is so beauti-
ful Tom should be so proud of it I know this is inexcusable, but I
am so compelled to admire."
" Being so impulsive," she said composedly.
"Mrs. Bounderby, no: you know I make no pretence with you.
You know I am a sordid piece of human nature, ready to sell myself
at any time for any reasonable sum, and altogether incapable of any
Arcadian proceeding whatever."
" I am waiting," she returned, " for your further reference to my
" You are rigid with me, and I deserve it. I am as worthless a
dog as you will find, except that I am not false not false. But you
surprised and started me from my subject, which was your brother.
I have an interest in him."
" Have you an interest in anything, Mr, Harthouse ? " she asked,
half incredulously and half gratefully.
" If you had asked me when I first came here, I should have said
no. I must say now even at the hazard of appearing to make a
pretence, and of justly awakening your incredulity yes."
She made a slight movement, as if she were trying to speak, but
could not find voice ; at length she said, " Mr. Harthouse, I give you
credit for being interested in my brother."
" Thank you. I claim to deserve it. You know how little I do
claim, but I will go that length. You have done so much for him,
you are so fond of him ; your whole life, Mrs. Bounderby, expresses
such charming self-forgetfulness on his account pardon me again I
am running wide of the subject. I am interested in him for his own
She had made the slightest action possible, as if she would have
risen in a hurry and gone away. He had turned the course of what
he said at that instant, and she remained.
" Mrs. Bounderby," he resumed, in a lighter manner, and yet with
a show of effort in assuming it, which was even more expressive than
the manner he dismissed; "it is no irrevocable offence in a young
fellow of your brother's years, if he is heedless, inconsiderate, and
expensive a little dissipated, in the common phrase. Is he ? "
" Allow me to be frank. Do you think he games at all ? "
" I think he makes bets." Mr. Harthouse waiting, as if that were
not her whole answer, she added, " I know he does."
" Of course he loses ? "
James Harthouse in Confidence. 475
" Everybody does lose who bets. May I hint at the probability of
your sometimes supplying him with money for these purposes ? "
She sat, looking down ; but, at this question, raised her eyes
searchingly and a little resentfully.
" Acquit me of impertinent curiosity, my dear Mrs. Bounderby. I
think Tom may be gradually falling into trouble, and I wish to
stretch out a helping hand to him from the depths of my wicked
experience. Shall I say again, for his sake ? Is that necessary ? "
She seemed to try to answer, but nothing came of it.
" Candidly to confess everything that has occurred to me," said
James Harthouse, again gliding with the same appearance of effort
into his more airy manner ; "I will confide to you my doubt whether
he has had many advantages. Whether forgive my plainness
whether any great amount of confidence is likely to have been
established between himself and his most worthy father."
" I do not," said Louisa, flushing with her own great remembrance
in that wise, " think it likely."
" Or, between himself, and I may trust to your perfect under-
standing of my meaning, I am sure and his highly esteemed brother-
She flushed deeper and deeper, and was burning red when she
replied in a fainter voice, " I do not think that likely, either."
"Mrs. Bounderby," said Harthouse, after a short silence, "may
there be a better confidence between yourself and me ? Tom has
borrowed a considerable sum of you ? "
" You will understand, Mr. Harthouse," she returned, after some
indecision ; she had been more or less uncertain and troubled
throughout the conversation, and yet had in the main preserved her
self-contained manner ; " you will understand that if I tell you what
you press to know, it is not by way of complaint or regret. I would
never complain of anything, and what I have done I do not in the
" So spirited, too ! " thought James Harthouse.
" When I married, I found that my brother was even at that time
heavily in debt. Heavily for him, I mean. Heavily enough to
oblige me to sell some trinkets. They were no sacrifice. I sold
them very willingly. I attached no value to them. They were quite
worthless te me."
Either she saw in his face that he knew, or she only feared in her
conscience that he knew, that she spoke of some of her husband's
gifts. She stopped, and reddened again. If he had not known it
before, he would have known it then, though he had been a much
duller man than he was.
" Since then, I have given my brother, at various times, what
money I could spare : in short, what money I have had. Confiding
in you at all, on the faith of the interest you profess for him, I will
476 Hard Times.
not do so by halves. Since you have been in the habit of visiting
here, he has wanted in one sum as much as a hundred pounds. I
have not been able to give it to him. I have felt uneasy for the con-
sequences of his being so involved, but I have kept these secrets until
now, when I trust them to your honour. I have held no confidence
with any one, because you anticipated my reason just now." She
abruptly broke off.
He was a ready man, and he saw, and seized, an opportunity here
of presenting her own image to her, slightly disguised as her
" Mrs. Bounderby, though a graceless person, of the world worldly,
I feel the utmost interest, I assure you, in what you tell me. I cannot
possibly be hard upon your brother. I understand and share the
wise consideration with which you regard his errors. With all
possible respect both for Mr. Gradgrind and for Mr. BounderLy, I think
I perceive that he has not been fortunate in his training. Bred at a
disadvantage towards the society in which he has his part to play, he
rushes into these extremes for himself, from opposite extremes that
have long been forced with the very best intentions we have no
doubt upon him. Mr. Bounderby's fine bluff English independence,
though a most charming characteristic, does not as we have agreed
invite confidence. If I might venture to remark that it is the least
in the world deficient in that delicacy to which a youth mistaken, a
character misconceived, and abilities misdirected, would turn for
relief and guidance, I should express what it presents to my own
As she sat looking straight before her, across the changing lights,
upon the grass into the darkness of the wood beyond, he saw in her
face her application of his very distinctly uttered words.
" All allowance," he continued, " must be made. I have one great
fault to find with Tom, however, which I cannot forgive, and for
which I take him heavily to account."
Louisa turned her eyes to his face, and asked him what fault was
" Perhaps," he returned, " I have said enough. Perhaps it would
have been better, on the whole, if no allusion to it had escaped
" You alarm me, Mr. Harthouse. Pray let me know it."
" To relieve you from needless apprehension and as this con-
fidence regarding your brother, which I prize I am sure above all
possible things, has been established between us I obey. I cannot
forgive him for not being more sensible in every word, look, and act
of his life, of the affection of his best friend ; of the devotion of his
best friend ; of her unselfishness ; of her sacrifice. The return he
makes her, within my observation, is a very poor one. What she has
done for him demands his constant love and gratitude, not his ill-
humour and caprice. Careless fellow as I am, I am not so indifferent,
Tom is misanthropical. 477
Mrs. Bounderby, as to be regardless of this vice in your brother, or
inclined to consider it a venial offence."
The wood floated before her, for her eyes were suffused with tears.
They rose from a deep well, long concealed, and her heart was filled
with acute pain that found no relief in them.
" In a word, it is to correct your brother in this, Mrs. Bounderby,
that I must aspire. My better knowledge of his circumstances, and
my direction and advice in extricating them rather valuable, I hope,
as coming from a scapegrace on a much larger scale will give me
some influence over him, and all I gain I shall certainly use towards
this end. I have said enough, and more than enough. I seem to be
protesting that I am a sort of good fellow, when, upon my honour, I
have not the least intention to make any protestation to that effect, and
openly announce that I am nothing of the sort. Yonder, among the
trees," he added, having lifted up his eyes and looked about ; for he
had watched her closely until now; "is your brother himself; no
doubt, just come down. As he seems to be loitering in this direction,
it may be as well, perhaps, to walk towards him, and throw ourselves
in his way. He has been very silent and doleful of late. Perhaps,
his brotherly conscience is touched if there are such things as con-
sciences. Though, upon my honour, I hear of them much too often
to believe in them."
He assisted her to rise, and she took his arm, and they advanced to
meet the whelp. He was idly beating the branches as he lounged
along : or he stooped viciously to rip the moss from the trees with his
stick. He was startled when they came upon him while he was
engaged in this latter pastime, and his colour changed.
" Halloa ! " he stammered ; " I didn't know you were here."
" Whose name, Tom," said Mr. Harthouse, ptitting his hand upon
his shoulder and turning him, so that they all three walked towards
the house together, " have you been carving on the trees ? "
" Whose name ? " returned Tom. " Oh ! You mean what girl's
name ? "
" You have a suspicious appearance of inscribing some fair creature's
on the bark, Tom."
" Not much of that, Mr. Harthouse, unless some fair creature with
a slashing fortune at her own disposal would take a fancy to me. Or
she might be as ugly as she was rich, without any fear of losing me.
I'd carve her name as often as she liked."
" I am afraid you are mercenary, Tom."
" Mercenary," repeated Tom. " Who is not mercenary ? Ask my
" Have you so proved it to be a failing of mine, Tom ? " said
Louisa, showing no other sense of his discontent and ill nature.
" You know whether the caps fits you, Loo," returned her brother
sulkily. " If it does, you can wear it."
" Tom is misanthropical to-day, as all bored people are now and
478 Hard Times.
then," said Mr. Harthouse. " Don't believe him, Mrs. Bounderby.
He knows much better. I shall disclose some of his opinions of you,
privately expressed to me, unless he relents a little."
" At all events, Mr. Harthouse," said Tom, softening in his admira-
tion of his patron, but shaking his head sullenly too, " you can't tell
her that I ever praised her for being mercenary. I may have praised
her for being the contrary, and I should do it again, if I had as good
reason. However, never mind this now ; it's not very interesting to
you, and I am sick of the subject."
They walked on to the house, where Lotrisa quitted her visitor's
arm and went in. He stood looking after her, as she ascended the
steps, and passed into the shadow of the door ; then put his hand
upon her brother's shoulder again, and invited him with a confidential
nod to a walk in the garden.
" Tom, my fine fallow, I want to have a word with you."
They had stopped among a disorder of roses it was part of Mr.
Bounderby's humility to keep Nickits's roses on a reduced scale and
Tom sat down on a terrace-parapet, plucking buds and picking them
to pieces ; while his powerful Familiar stood over him, with a foot
upon the parapet, and his figure easily resting on the arm supported
by that knee. They were just visible from her window. Perhaps
she suw them.
" Tom, what's the matter?"
" Oh ! Mr. Harthouse," said Tom with a groan, " I am hard up,
and bothered out of my life."
" My good fellow, so am I."
"You!" returned Tom. "You are the -picture of independence.
Mr. Harthouse, I am in a horrible mess. You have no idea what a
state I have got myself into what a state my sister might have got
me out of, if she would only have done it."
He took to biting the rosebuds now, and tearing them away from
his teeth with a hand that trembled like an infirm old man's. After
one exceedingly observant look at him, his companion relapsed into
his lightest air.
" Tom, you are inconsiderate : you expect too much of your sister.
You have had money of her, you dog, you know you have."
" Well, Mr. Harthouse, I know I have. How else was I to get it ?
Here's old Bounderby always boasting that at my age he lived upon
twopence a month, or something of that sort. Here's my father
drawing what he calls a line, and tying me down to it from a baby,
neck and heels. Here's my mother who never has anything of her
own, except her complaints. . What is a fellow to do for money, and
where am I to look for it, if not to my sister ? "
He was almost crying, and scattered the buds about by dozens.
Mr. Harthouse took him persuasively by the coat.
" But, my dear Tom, if your sister has not got it "
" Not got it, Mr. Harthouse ? I don't say she has got it I may
MR. HAHTHOUBB AND TOM GRADGHIND IN THE GARDEN,
Unnatural Conduct. 479
have wanted more than she was likely to have got. But then she
ought to get it. She could get it. It's of no use pretending to make
a secret of matters now, after what I have told you already ; you
know she didn't marry old Bounderby for her own sake, or for his
sake, but for my sake. Then why doesn't she get what I want, out
of him, for my sake ? She is not obliged to say what she is going to
do with it ; she is sharp enough ; she could manage to coax it out of
him, if she chose. Then why doesn't she choose, when I tell her of
what consequence it is ? But no. There she sits in his company
like a stone, instead of making herself agreeable and getting it easily.
I don't know what you may call this, but Jcall it unnatural conduct."
There was a piece of ornamental water immediately below the
parapet, on the other side, into which Mr. James Harthouse had a very
strong inclination to pitch Mr. Thomas Gradgrind Junior, as the
injured men of Coketown threatened to pitch their property into the
Atlantic. But he preserved his easy attitude ; and nothing more
solid went over the stone balustrades than the accumulated rosebuds
now floating about, a little surface-island.
" My dear Tom," said Harthouse, " let me try to be your banker."
" For God's sake," replied Tom, suddenly, " don't talk about
bankers ! " And very white he looked, in contrast with the roses.
Mr. Harthouse, as a thoroughly well-bred man, accustomed to the
best society, was not to be surprised he could as soon have been
affected but he raised his eyelids a little more, as if they were lifted
by a feeble touch of wonder. Albeit it was as much against the
precepts of his school to wonder, as it was against the doctrines of
the Gradgrind College.
" What is the present need, Tom ? Three figures ? Out with
them. Say what they are."
" Mr. Harthouse," returned Tom, now actually crying ; and his
tears were better than his injuries, however pitiful a figure he made ;
" it's too late ; the money is of no use to me at present. I should
have had it before to be of use to me. But I am very much obliged
to you ; you're a true friend."
A true friend ! " Whelp, whelp ! " thought Mr. Harthouse, lazily ;
" what an Ass you are ! "
" And I take your offer as a great kindness," said Tom, grasping
his hand. " As a great kindness, Mr. Harthouse."
" Well," returned the other, " it may be of more use by-and-foy.
And my good fellow, if you will open your bedevilments to me when
they come thick upon you, I may show you better ways out of them
than you can find for yourself."
" Thank you," said Tom, shaking his head dismally, and chewing
rosebuds. " I wish I had known you sooner, Mr. Harthouse."
" Now, you see, Tom," said Mr. Harthouse in conclusion, himself
tossing ovor z rose or two, as a contribution to the island, which was
480 Hard Times.
always drifting to the wall as if it wanted to become a part of the
mainland : " every man is selfish in everything he does, and I am
exactly like the rest of my fellow creatures. I am desperately intent ; "
the languor of his desperation being quite tropical ; " on your soften-
ing towards your sister which you ought to do; and on your being
a more loving and agreeable sort of brother which you ought to be."
" I will be, Mr. Harthouse."
" No time like the present, Tom. Begin at once."
" Certainly I will. And my sister Loo shall say so."
" Having made which bargain, Tom," said Harthouse, clapping him
on the shoulder again, with an air which left him at liberty to infer
as he did, poor fool that this condition was imposed upon him in
mere careless good nature to lessen his sense of obligation, " we will
tear ourselves asunder until dinner-time."
When Tom appeared before dinner, though his mind seemed heavy
enough, his body was on the alert ; and he appeared before Mr.
Bounderby came in. " I didn't mean to be cross, Loo," he said,
giving her his hand, and kissing her. " I know you are fond of me,
and you know I am fond of you."
After this, there was a smile upon Louisa's face that day, for some
one else. Alas, for some one else !
" So much the less is the whelp the only creature that she cares
for," thought James Harthouse, reversing the reflection of his first
day's knowledge of her pretty face. " So much the less, so much the
THE next morning was too bright a morning for sleep, and James
Harthouse rose early, and sat in the pleasant bay window of his
dressing-room, smoking the rare tobacco that had had so whole-
some an influence on his young friend. Reposing in the sunlight,
with the fragrance of his eastern pipe about him, and the dreamy
smoke vanishing into the air, so rich and soft with summer odours, he
reckoned up his advantages as an idle winner might count his gains.
He was not at all bored for the time, and could give his mind to it.
He had established a confidence with her, from which her husband
was excluded. He had established a confidence with her, that abso-
lutely turned upon her indifference towards her husband, and the
absence, now and at all times, of any congeniality between them. He
had artfully, but plainly assured her, that he knew her heart in its
last most delicate recesses; he had come so near to her through its
Mr. Bounderby's Burst. 481
tenderest sentiment ; he had associated himself with that feeling ;
and the barrier behind which she lived, had melted away. All very
odd, and very satisfactory !
And yet he had not, even now, any earnest wickedness of purpose
in him. Publicly and privately, it were much better for the age in
which he lived, that he and the legion of whom he was one were
designedly bad, than indifferent and purposeless. It is the drifting
icebergs setting with any current anywhere, that wreck the ships.
When the Devil goeth about like a roaring lion, he goeth about in
a shape by which few but savages and hunters are attracted. But,
when he is trimmed, smoothed, and varnished, according to the mode :
when he is aweary of vice, and aweary of virtue, used up as to
brimstone, and used up as to bliss ; then, whether he take to the
serving out of red tape, or to the kindling of red fire, he is the very
So, James Harthouse reclined in the window, indolently smoking,
and reckoning up the steps he had taken on the road by which he
happened to be travelling. The end to which it led was before him,
pretty plainly ; but he troubled himself with no calculations about it.
What will be, will be.
As he had rather a long ride to take that day for there was a
public occasion " to do " at some distance, which afforded a tolerable
opportunity of going in for the Gradgrind men he dressed early,
and went down to breakfast. He was anxious to see if she had
relapsed since the previous evening. No. He resumed where he
had left off. There was a look of interest for him again.
He got through the day as much (or as little) to his own satisfac-
tion, as was to be expected under the fatiguing circumstances ; and
came riding back at six o'clock. There was a sweep of some half
mile between the lodge and the house, and he was riding along at
a foot pace over the smooth gravel, once Nickits's, when Mr. Bounderby
burst out of the shrubbery, with such violence as to make his horse
shy across the road.
" Harthouse ! " cried Mr. Bounderby. " Haye you heard ? "
" Heard what ? " said Harthouse, soothing his horse, and inwardly
favouring Mr. Bounderby with no good wishes.
" Then you haven't heard ! "
" I have heard you, and so hae this brute. I have heard nothing
Mr. Bounderby, red and hot, planted himself in the centre of the
path before the horse's head, to explode his bombshell with more effect.
" The Bank's robbed ! "
" You don't mean it ! "