BOOK THE SECOND - REAPING
5. Chapter V - Men and Masters
'WELL, Stephen,' said Bounderby, in his windy manner, 'what's this
I hear? What have these pests of the earth been doing to you?
Come in, and speak up.'
It was into the drawing-room that he was thus bidden. A tea-table
was set out; and Mr. Bounderby's young wife, and her brother, and a
great gentleman from London, were present. To whom Stephen made
his obeisance, closing the door and standing near it, with his hat
in his hand.
'This is the man I was telling you about, Harthouse,' said Mr.
Bounderby. The gentleman he addressed, who was talking to Mrs.
Bounderby on the sofa, got up, saying in an indolent way, 'Oh
really?' and dawdled to the hearthrug where Mr. Bounderby stood.
'Now,' said Bounderby, 'speak up!'
After the four days he had passed, this address fell rudely and
discordantly on Stephen's ear. Besides being a rough handling of
his wounded mind, it seemed to assume that he really was the self-
interested deserter he had been called.
'What were it, sir,' said Stephen, 'as yo were pleased to want wi'
'Why, I have told you,' returned Bounderby. 'Speak up like a man,
since you are a man, and tell us about yourself and this
'Wi' yor pardon, sir,' said Stephen Blackpool, 'I ha' nowt to sen
Mr. Bounderby, who was always more or less like a Wind, finding
something in his way here, began to blow at it directly.
'Now, look here, Harthouse,' said he, 'here's a specimen of 'em.
When this man was here once before, I warned this man against the
mischievous strangers who are always about - and who ought to be
hanged wherever they are found - and I told this man that he was
going in the wrong direction. Now, would you believe it, that
although they have put this mark upon him, he is such a slave to
them still, that he's afraid to open his lips about them?'