BOOK THE THIRD - GARNERING
9. Chapter Ix - Final
IT is a dangerous thing to see anything in the sphere of a vain
blusterer, before the vain blusterer sees it himself. Mr.
Bounderby felt that Mrs. Sparsit had audaciously anticipated him,
and presumed to be wiser than he. Inappeasably indignant with her
for her triumphant discovery of Mrs. Pegler, he turned this
presumption, on the part of a woman in her dependent position, over
and over in his mind, until it accumulated with turning like a
great snowball. At last he made the discovery that to discharge
this highly connected female - to have it in his power to say, 'She
was a woman of family, and wanted to stick to me, but I wouldn't
have it, and got rid of her' - would be to get the utmost possible
amount of crowning glory out of the connection, and at the same
time to punish Mrs. Sparsit according to her deserts.
Filled fuller than ever, with this great idea, Mr. Bounderby came
in to lunch, and sat himself down in the dining-room of former
days, where his portrait was. Mrs. Sparsit sat by the fire, with
her foot in her cotton stirrup, little thinking whither she was
Since the Pegler affair, this gentlewoman had covered her pity for
Mr. Bounderby with a veil of quiet melancholy and contrition. In
virtue thereof, it had become her habit to assume a woful look,
which woful look she now bestowed upon her patron.
'What's the matter now, ma'am?' said Mr. Bounderby, in a very
short, rough way.
'Pray, sir,' returned Mrs. Sparsit, 'do not bite my nose off.'
'Bite your nose off, ma'am?' repeated Mr. Bounderby. 'Your nose!'
meaning, as Mrs. Sparsit conceived, that it was too developed a
nose for the purpose. After which offensive implication, he cut
himself a crust of bread, and threw the knife down with a noise.
Mrs. Sparsit took her foot out of her stirrup, and said, 'Mr.
'Well, ma'am?' retorted Mr. Bounderby. 'What are you staring at?'
'May I ask, sir,' said Mrs. Sparsit, 'have you been ruffled this