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THE indefatigable Mrs. Sparsit, with a
violent cold upon her, her voice reduced to a
whisper, and her stately frame so racked by
continual sneezes that it seemed in danger of
dismemberment, gave chase to her patron
until she found him in the metropolis; and
there, majestically sweeping in upon him at
his hotel in St. James's Street, exploded the
combustibles with which she was charged,
and blew up. Having executed her mission
with infinite relish, this high-minded woman
then fainted away on Mr. Bounderby's
coat- collar.

Mr. Bounderby's first procedure was to
shake Mrs. Sparsit off, and leave her to
progress as she might through various stages
of suffering on the floor. He next had
recourse to the administration of potent
restoratives, such as screwing the patient's
thumbs, smiting her hands, abundantly
watering her face, and inserting salt in her
mouth. When these attentions had recovered
her (which they speedily did), he hustled her
into a fast train without offering any
other refreshment, and carried her back to
Coketown more dead than alive.

Regarded as a classical ruin, Mrs. Sparsit
was an interesting spectacle on her arrival
at her journey's end; but considered in any
other light, the amount of damage she had by
that time sustained was excessive, and
impaired her claims to admiration. Utterly
heedless of the wear and tear of her clothes
and constitution, and adamant to her pathetic
sneezes, Mr. Bounderby immediately crammed
her into a coach, and bore her off to Stone

"Now, Tom Gradgrind," said Bounderby,
bursting into his father-in-law's room late at
night; "here's a lady hereMrs. Sparsit
you know Mrs. Sparsitwho has something
to say to you that will strike you dumb."

"You have missed my letter!" exclaimed
Mr. Gradgrind, surprised by the apparition.

"Missed your letter, sir!" bawled Bounderby.
"The present time is no time for
letters. No man shall talk to Josiah Bounderby
of Coketown about letters, with his mind
in the state it's in now."

"Bounderby," said Mr. Gradgrind, in a
tone of temperate remonstrance. "I speak
of a very special letter I have written to you,
in reference to Louisa."

"Tom Gradgrind," replied Bounderby,
knocking the flat of his hand several times
with great vehemence on the table, "I speak
of a very special messenger that has come to
me, in reference to Louisa. Mrs. Sparsit
ma'am, stand forward!"

That unfortunate lady hereupon essaying
to offer testimony, without any voice and
with painful gestures expressive of an inflamed
throat, became so aggravating and underwent
so many facial contortions, that Mr. Bounderby,
unable to bear it, seized her by the arm
and shook her.

"If you can't get it out, ma'am," said
Bounderby, "leave me to get it out. This is
not a time for a lady, however highly
connected, to be totally inaudible, and seemingly
swallowing marbles. Tom Gradgrind, Mrs.
Sparsit latterly found herself, by accident, in
a situation to overhear a conversation out
of doors between your daughter and
your precious gentleman-friend, Mr. James

"Indeed?" said Mr. Gradgrind.

"Ah! Indeed!" cried Bounderby. " And
in that conversation——"

"It is not necessary to repeat its tenor,
Bounderby. I know what passed."

"You do! Perhaps," said Bounderby,
staring with all his might at his so quiet and
assuasive father-in-law, "you know where
your daughter is at the present time?"

"Undoubtedly. She is here."


"My dear Bounderby, let me beg you to
restrain these loud outbreaks, on all accounts.
Louisa is here. The moment she could
detach herself from that interview with the
person of whom you speak, and whom I
deeply regret to have been the means of
introducing to you, Louisa hurried here, for
protection. I myself had not been at home
many hours, when I received herhere, in
this room. She hurried by the train to town,
she ran from town to this house through a
raging storm, and presented herself before
me in a state of distraction. Of course, she