BOOK THE THIRD - GARNERING
3. Chapter Iii - Very Decided (continued)
'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 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
'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 out-
breaks, 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 her - here, 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 has remained here ever
since. Let me entreat you, for your own sake and for hers, to be