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Mr. BOUNDERBY being a bachelor, an
elderly lady presided over his establishment,
in consideration of a certain annual stipend.
Mrs. Sparsit was this lady's name; and she
was a prominent figure in attendance on Mr.
Bounderby's car, as it rolled along in triumph
with the Bully of humility inside.

For, Mrs. Sparsit had not only seen different
days, but was highly connected. She had a
great aunt living in these very times called
Lady Scadgers. Mr. Sparsit, deceased, of whom
she was the relict, had been by the mother's
side what Mrs. Sparsit still called "a Powler."
Strangers of limited information and dull
apprehension were sometimes observed not to
know what a Powler was, and even to appear
uncertain whether it might be a business, or
a political party, or a profession of faith. The
better class of minds, however, did not need
to be informed that the Powlers were an
ancient stock, who could trace themselves so
exceedingly far back that it was not surprising
if they sometimes lost themselveswhich
they had rather frequently done, as respected
horse-flesh, blind-hookey, Hebrew monetary
transactions, and the Insolvent Debtors

The late Mr. Sparsit, being by the mother's
side a Powler, married this lady, being by the
father's side a Scadgers. Lady Scadgers (an
immensely fat old woman, with an inordinate
appetite for butcher's meat, and a mysterious
leg, which had now refused to get out of bed for
fourteen years) contrived the marriage, at a
period when Sparsit was just of age, and
chiefly noticeable for a slender body, weakly
supported on two long slim props, and
surmounted by no head worth mentioning. He
inherited a fair fortune from his uncle, but
owed it all before he came into it, and spent
it twice over immediately afterwards. Thus,
when he died, at twenty-four (the scene of
his decease Calais, and the cause brandy), he
did not leave his widow, from whom he had
been separated soon after the honeymoon, in
affluent circumstances. That bereaved lady,
fifteen years older than he, fell presently at
deadly feud with her only relative, Lady
Scadgers; and, partly to spite her ladyship,
and partly to maintain herself, went out at a
salary. And here she was now, in her
elderly days, with the Coriolanian style of nose
and the dense black eyebrows which had
captivated Sparsit, making Mr. Bounderby's tea
as he took his breakfast.

If Bounderby had been a Conqueror, and
Mrs. Sparsit a captive Princess whom he
took about as a feature in his state-processions,
he could not have made a greater flourish
with her than he habitually did. Just as it
belonged to his boastfulness to depreciate his
own extraction, so it belonged to it to exalt
Mrs. Sparsit's. In the measure that he would
not allow his own youth to have been attended
by a single favourable circumstance, he
brightened Mrs. Sparsit's juvenile career with
every possible advantage, and showered
wagon-loads of early roses all over that lady's
path. "And yet, sir," he would say, "how
does it turn out after all ? Why here she is at
a hundred a year (I give her a hundred,
which she is pleased to term handsome), keeping
the house of Josiah Bounderby of

Nay, he made this foil of his so very widely
known, that third parties took it up, and
handled it on some occasions with considerable
briskness. It was one of the most exasperating
attributes of Bounderby, that he not only
sang his own praises but stimulated other
men to sing them. There was a moral infection
of claptrap in him. Strangers, modest
enough elsewhere, started up at dinners in
Coketown, and boasted, in quite a rampant
way, of Bounderby. They made him out to
be the Royal arms, the Union-Jack, Magna
Charta, John Bull, Habeas Corpus, the Bill of
Rights, An Englishman's house is his castle,
Church and State, and God save the Queen
all put together. And often (and it was
very often) as an orator of this kind brought
into his peroration,

"Princes and Lords may flourish or may fade,
A breath can make them, as a breath has made:"

it was, for certain, more or less understood
among the company that he had heard of
Mrs. Sparsit.

"Mr. Bounderby," said Mrs. Sparsit, " you
are unusually slow, sir, with your breakfast
this morning."