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A SUNNY midsummer day. There was such
a thing sometimes, even in Coketown.

Seen from a distance in such weather,
Coketown lay shrouded in a haze of its own,
which appeared impervious to the sun's rays.
You only knew the town was there, because
you knew there could have been no such
sulky blotch upon the prospect without a
town. A blur of soot and smoke, now
confusedly tending this way, now that way, now
aspiring to the vault of heaven, now murkily
creeping along the earth, as the wind rose
and fell, or changed its quarter: a dense
formless jumble, with sheets of cross light in it,
that showed nothing but masses of darkness:
Coketown in the distance was suggestive
of itself, though not a brick of it could be

The wonder was, it was there at all. It
had been ruined so often, that it was amazing
how it had borne so many shocks. Surely
there never was such fragile china-ware as
that of which the millers of Coketown were
made. Handle them never so lightly, and they
fell to pieces with such ease that you might
suspect them of having been flawed before.
They were ruined, when they were required to
send labouring children to school; they were
ruined, when inspectors were appointed to
look into their works; they were ruined, when
such inspectors considered it doubtful
whether they were quite justified in chopping
people up with their machinery; they were
utterly undone, when it was hinted that perhaps
they need not always make quite so much
smoke. Besides Mr. Bounderby's gold spoon
which was generally received in Coketown,
another prevalent fiction was very popular
there. It took the form of a threat. Whenever
a Coketowner felt he was ill-used
that is to say, whenever he was not left entirely
alone, and it was proposed to hold him accountable
for the consequences of any of his actshe
was sure to come out with the awful menace,
that he would "sooner pitch his property into
the Atlantic." This had terrified the Home
Secretary within an inch of his life, on several

However, the Coketowners were so patriotic
after all, that they never had pitched
their property into the Atlantic yet, but on
the contrary, had been kind enough to take
mighty good care of it. So there it was, in
the haze yonder; and it increased and multiplied.

The streets were hot and dusty on the
summer day, and the sun was so bright that
it even shone through the heavy vapour
drooping over Coketown, and could not be
looked at steadily. Stokers emerged from
low underground doorways into factory yards,
and sat on steps, and posts, and palings,
wiping their swarthy visages, and contemplating
coals. The whole town seemed to be
frying in oil. There was a stifling smell
of hot oil everywhere. The steam-engines
shone with it, the dresses of the Hands
were soiled with it, the mills throughout their
many stories oozed and trickled it. The
atmosphere of those Fairy palaces was like the
breath of the simoom; and their inhabitants,
wasting with heat, toiled languidly in the
desert. But no temperature made the melancholy
mad elephants more mad or more sane.
Their wearisome heads went up and down at
the same rate, in hot weather and cold, wet
weather and dry, fair weather and foul.
The measured motion of their shadows on
the walls, was the substitute Coketown had to
show for the shadows of rustling woods; while,
for the summer hum of insects, it could offer,
all the year round, from the dawn of Monday
to the night of Saturday, the whirr of shafts
and wheels.

Drowsily they whirred all through this
sunny day, making the passenger more
sleepy and more hot as he passed the
humming walls of the mills. Sun-blinds, and
sprinklings of water, a little cooled the main
streets and the shops; but the mills, and
the courts and alleys, baked at a fierce
heat. Down upon the river that was black
and thick with dye, some Coketown boys who
were at largea rare sight thererowed a
crazy boat, which made a spumous track upon
the water as it jogged along, while every dip
of an oar stirred up vile smells. But the sun
itself, however beneficent generally, was less
kind to Coketown than hard frost, and rarely
looked intently into any of its closer regions
without engendering more death than life.