BOOK THE FIRST - SOWING
14. Chapter Xiv - the Great Manufacturer
TIME went on in Coketown like its own machinery: so much material
wrought up, so much fuel consumed, so many powers worn out, so much
money made. But, less inexorable than iron, steal, and brass, it
brought its varying seasons even into that wilderness of smoke and
brick, and made the only stand that ever was made in the place
against its direful uniformity.
'Louisa is becoming,' said Mr. Gradgrind, 'almost a young woman.'
Time, with his innumerable horse-power, worked away, not minding
what anybody said, and presently turned out young Thomas a foot
taller than when his father had last taken particular notice of
'Thomas is becoming,' said Mr. Gradgrind, 'almost a young man.'
Time passed Thomas on in the mill, while his father was thinking
about it, and there he stood in a long-tailed coat and a stiff
'Really,' said Mr. Gradgrind, 'the period has arrived when Thomas
ought to go to Bounderby.'
Time, sticking to him, passed him on into Bounderby's Bank, made
him an inmate of Bounderby's house, necessitated the purchase of
his first razor, and exercised him diligently in his calculations
relative to number one.
The same great manufacturer, always with an immense variety of work
on hand, in every stage of development, passed Sissy onward in his
mill, and worked her up into a very pretty article indeed.
'I fear, Jupe,' said Mr. Gradgrind, 'that your continuance at the
school any longer would be useless.'
'I am afraid it would, sir,' Sissy answered with a curtsey.
'I cannot disguise from you, Jupe,' said Mr. Gradgrind, knitting
his brow, 'that the result of your probation there has disappointed
me; has greatly disappointed me. You have not acquired, under Mr.
and Mrs. M'Choakumchild, anything like that amount of exact
knowledge which I looked for. You are extremely deficient in your
facts. Your acquaintance with figures is very limited. You are
altogether backward, and below the mark.'