BOOK THE SECOND - REAPING
10. Chapter X - Mrs. Sparsit's Staircase (continued)
'My dear Louisa, then consent to receive the submissive
representation of your devoted friend, who knows something of
several varieties of his excellent fellow-creatures - for excellent
they are, I am quite ready to believe, in spite of such little
foibles as always helping themselves to what they can get hold of.
This fellow talks. Well; every fellow talks. He professes
morality. Well; all sorts of humbugs profess morality. From the
House of Commons to the House of Correction, there is a general
profession of morality, except among our people; it really is that
exception which makes our people quite reviving. You saw and heard
the case. Here was one of the fluffy classes pulled up extremely
short by my esteemed friend Mr. Bounderby - who, as we know, is not
possessed of that delicacy which would soften so tight a hand. The
member of the fluffy classes was injured, exasperated, left the
house grumbling, met somebody who proposed to him to go in for some
share in this Bank business, went in, put something in his pocket
which had nothing in it before, and relieved his mind extremely.
Really he would have been an uncommon, instead of a common, fellow,
if he had not availed himself of such an opportunity. Or he may
have originated it altogether, if he had the cleverness.'
'I almost feel as though it must be bad in me,' returned Louisa,
after sitting thoughtful awhile, 'to be so ready to agree with you,
and to be so lightened in my heart by what you say.'
'I only say what is reasonable; nothing worse. I have talked it
over with my friend Tom more than once - of course I remain on
terms of perfect confidence with Tom - and he is quite of my
opinion, and I am quite of his. Will you walk?'
They strolled away, among the lanes beginning to be indistinct in
the twilight - she leaning on his arm - and she little thought how
she was going down, down, down, Mrs. Sparsit's staircase.
Night and day, Mrs. Sparsit kept it standing. When Louisa had
arrived at the bottom and disappeared in the gulf, it might fall in
upon her if it would; but, until then, there it was to be, a
Building, before Mrs. Sparsit's eyes. And there Louisa always was,