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 Jamess 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 Bounderbys coat-collar.
Mr Bounderbys 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 patients 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 journeys 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 Lodge.
Now, Tom Gradgrind, said Bounderby, bursting into his father-in-laws room late at night; heres a lady here Mrs Sparsit you know Mrs Sparsit who 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 its 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, maam, 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 cant get it out, maam, 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 Harthouse.
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.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|