BOOK THE THIRD - GARNERING
3. Chapter Iii - Very Decided
THE indefatigable Mrs. Sparsit, with a violent cold upon her, her
voice reduced to a whisper, and her stately frame so racked by
continual sneezes that it seemed in danger of dismemberment, gave
chase to her patron until she found him in the metropolis; and
there, majestically sweeping in upon him at his hotel in St.
James's Street, exploded the combustibles with which she was
charged, and blew up. Having executed her mission with infinite
relish, this high-minded woman then fainted away on Mr. Bounderby's
Mr. Bounderby's first procedure was to shake Mrs. Sparsit off, and
leave her to progress as she might through various stages of
suffering on the floor. He next had recourse to the administration
of potent restoratives, such as screwing the patient's thumbs,
smiting her hands, abundantly watering her face, and inserting salt
in her mouth. When these attentions had recovered her (which they
speedily did), he hustled her into a fast train without offering
any other refreshment, and carried her back to Coketown more dead
Regarded as a classical ruin, Mrs. Sparsit was an interesting
spectacle on her arrival at her journey's end; but considered in
any other light, the amount of damage she had by that time
sustained was excessive, and impaired her claims to admiration.
Utterly heedless of the wear and tear of her clothes and
constitution, and adamant to her pathetic sneezes, Mr. Bounderby
immediately crammed her into a coach, and bore her off to Stone
'Now, Tom Gradgrind,' said Bounderby, bursting into his father-in-
law's room late at night; 'here's a lady here - Mrs. Sparsit - you
know Mrs. Sparsit - who has something to say to you that will
strike you dumb.'
'You have missed my letter!' exclaimed Mr. Gradgrind, surprised by
'Missed your letter, sir!' bawled Bounderby. 'The present time is
no time for letters. No man shall talk to Josiah Bounderby of
Coketown about letters, with his mind in the state it's in now.'
'Bounderby,' said Mr. Gradgrind, in a tone of temperate
remonstrance, 'I speak of a very special letter I have written to
you, in reference to Louisa.'