Hard Times Book 2, Chapter 10 Summary
Mrs. Sparsit's Staircase
- Mrs. Sparsit turns the few days she was supposed to stay at Bounderby's into a few weeks. She continues babying Bounderby to his face and cursing his portrait to its face.
- Meanwhile, she is constantly spying on Louisa, and she imagines Louisa walking down a staircase leading to "a dark pit of shame and ruin at the bottom." (Symbolism alert! We're guessing nothing good is going to happen to anyone who falls into a bottomless hole. Of shame, no less.)
- Mrs. Sparsit asks Bounderby what's up with the bank robbery investigation.
- Bounderby says it's too early for results, and besides he's trying to keep everything hush-hush so that the thieves get a false sense of security.
- That night, Mrs. Sparsit sees Louisa talking to Harthouse in the garden. She can't hear them, but the body language seems pretty clear – he is bending over her, almost touching.
- But actually, they are just talking about Stephen. Harthouse tells her that he's probably guilty, since that's just the kind of people the workers are. Louisa feels bad for wanting to believe this, but also pretty relieved.