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HARD TIMES.

BY CHARLES DICKENS.

CHAPTER I.

"Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these
boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts
alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else,
and root out everything else. You can only
form the minds of reasoning animals upon
Facts: nothing else will ever be of any
service to them. This is the principle on
which I bring up my own children, and this
is the principle on which I bring up these
children. Stick to Facts, sir!"

The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous
vault of a school-room, and the speaker's
square forefinger emphasised his observations
by underscoring every sentence with a line
on the schoolmaster's sleeve. The emphasis
was helped by the speaker's square wall of a
forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base,
while his eyes found commodious cellarage in
two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall.
The emphasis was helped by the speaker's
mouth, which was wide, thin, and hard set.
The emphasis was helped by the speaker's
voice, which was inflexible, dry, and dictatorial.
The emphasis was helped by the
speaker's hair, which bristled on the skirts
of his bald head, a plantation of firs to
keep the wind from its shining surface, all
covered with knobs, like the crust of a plum
pie, as if the head had scarcely warehouse-
room for the hard facts stored inside. The
speaker's obstinate carriage, square coat,
square legs, square shoulders,—nay, his very
neckcloth, trained to take him by the throat
with an unaccommodating grasp, like a
stubborn fact, as it was,—all helped the emphasis.
"In this life, we want nothing but Facts,
sir; nothing but Facts!"

The speaker, and the schoolmaster, and the
third grown person present, all backed a little,
and swept with their eyes the inclined plane
of little vessels then and there arranged in
order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts
poured into them until they were full to the
brim.

CHAPTER II.

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, sirperemptorily
ThomasThomas 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 Gradgrindno, 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 facts.

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 galvanising 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, and curtseying.

"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."

Mr. Gradgrind frowned, and waved off the
objectionable calling with his hand.

"We don't want to know anything about

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