BOOK THE FIRST - SOWING
2. Chapter Ii - Murdering the Innocents
THOMAS GRADGRIND, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and
calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and
two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into
allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir - peremptorily
Thomas - Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and
the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh
and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what
it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple
arithmetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief
into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John
Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existent
persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind - no, sir!
In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself,
whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in
general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words 'boys and
girls,' for 'sir,' Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind
to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of
Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before
mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with
facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of
childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus,
too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young
imaginations that were to be stormed away.
'Girl number twenty,' said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with
his square forefinger, 'I don't know that girl. Who is that girl?'
'Sissy Jupe, sir,' explained number twenty, blushing, standing up,
'Sissy is not a name,' said Mr. Gradgrind. 'Don't call yourself
Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia.'
'It's father as calls me Sissy, sir,' returned the young girl in a
trembling voice, and with another curtsey.
'Then he has no business to do it,' said Mr. Gradgrind. 'Tell him
he mustn't. Cecilia Jupe. Let me see. What is your father?'
'He belongs to the horse-riding, if you please, sir.'