BOOK THE FIRST - SOWING
3. Chapter Iii - a Loophole (continued)
A very regular feature on the face of the country, Stone Lodge was.
Not the least disguise toned down or shaded off that uncompromising
fact in the landscape. A great square house, with a heavy portico
darkening the principal windows, as its master's heavy brows
overshadowed his eyes. A calculated, cast up, balanced, and proved
house. Six windows on this side of the door, six on that side; a
total of twelve in this wing, a total of twelve in the other wing;
four-and-twenty carried over to the back wings. A lawn and garden
and an infant avenue, all ruled straight like a botanical account-
book. Gas and ventilation, drainage and water-service, all of the
primest quality. Iron clamps and girders, fire-proof from top to
bottom; mechanical lifts for the housemaids, with all their brushes
and brooms; everything that heart could desire.
Everything? Well, I suppose so. The little Gradgrinds had
cabinets in various departments of science too. They had a little
conchological cabinet, and a little metallurgical cabinet, and a
little mineralogical cabinet; and the specimens were all arranged
and labelled, and the bits of stone and ore looked as though they
might have been broken from the parent substances by those
tremendously hard instruments their own names; and, to paraphrase
the idle legend of Peter Piper, who had never found his way into
their nursery, If the greedy little Gradgrinds grasped at more than
this, what was it for good gracious goodness' sake, that the greedy
little Gradgrinds grasped it!
Their father walked on in a hopeful and satisfied frame of mind.
He was an affectionate father, after his manner; but he would
probably have described himself (if he had been put, like Sissy
Jupe, upon a definition) as 'an eminently practical' father. He
had a particular pride in the phrase eminently practical, which was
considered to have a special application to him. Whatsoever the
public meeting held in Coketown, and whatsoever the subject of such
meeting, some Coketowner was sure to seize the occasion of alluding
to his eminently practical friend Gradgrind. This always pleased
the eminently practical friend. He knew it to be his due, but his
due was acceptable.