BOOK THE FIRST - SOWING
3. Chapter Iii - a Loophole
MR. GRADGRIND walked homeward from the school, in a state of
considerable satisfaction. It was his school, and he intended it
to be a model. He intended every child in it to be a model - just
as the young Gradgrinds were all models.
There were five young Gradgrinds, and they were models every one.
They had been lectured at, from their tenderest years; coursed,
like little hares. Almost as soon as they could run alone, they
had been made to run to the lecture-room. The first object with
which they had an association, or of which they had a remembrance,
was a large black board with a dry Ogre chalking ghastly white
figures on it.
Not that they knew, by name or nature, anything about an Ogre Fact
forbid! I only use the word to express a monster in a lecturing
castle, with Heaven knows how many heads manipulated into one,
taking childhood captive, and dragging it into gloomy statistical
dens by the hair.
No little Gradgrind had ever seen a face in the moon; it was up in
the moon before it could speak distinctly. No little Gradgrind had
ever learnt the silly jingle, Twinkle, twinkle, little star; how I
wonder what you are! No little Gradgrind had ever known wonder on
the subject, each little Gradgrind having at five years old
dissected the Great Bear like a Professor Owen, and driven
Charles's Wain like a locomotive engine-driver. No little
Gradgrind had ever associated a cow in a field with that famous cow
with the crumpled horn who tossed the dog who worried the cat who
killed the rat who ate the malt, or with that yet more famous cow
who swallowed Tom Thumb: it had never heard of those celebrities,
and had only been introduced to a cow as a graminivorous ruminating
quadruped with several stomachs.
To his matter-of-fact home, which was called Stone Lodge, Mr.
Gradgrind directed his steps. He had virtually retired from the
wholesale hardware trade before he built Stone Lodge, and was now
looking about for a suitable opportunity of making an arithmetical
figure in Parliament. Stone Lodge was situated on a moor within a
mile or two of a great town - called Coketown in the present