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Quotes

Quote #1

The late Mr. Sparsit, being by the mother's side a Powler, married this lady, being by the father's side a Scadgers. Lady Scadgers […] contrived the marriage, at a period when Sparsit was just of age, and chiefly noticeable for a slender body, weakly supported on two long slim props, and surmounted by no head worth mentioning. He inherited a fair fortune from his uncle, but owed it all before he came into it, and spent it twice over immediately afterwards. Thus, when he died, at twenty-four (the scene of his decease, Calais, and the cause, brandy), he did not leave his widow, from whom he had been separated soon after the honeymoon, in affluent circumstances. That bereaved lady, fifteen years older than he, fell presently at deadly feud with her only relative, Lady Scadgers; and, partly to spite her ladyship, and partly to maintain herself, went out at a salary. (1.7.3)

Another paragraph that contains within itself the outline of a novel – a funny and savage tale of a purely opportunistic marriage.

Quote #2

As to Mrs. Gradgrind, if she said anything on the subject, she would come a little way out of her wrappers, like a feminine dormouse, and say: '[…] Upon my word and honour I seem to be fated, and destined, and ordained, to live in the midst of things that I am never to hear the last of. It really is a most extraordinary circumstance that it appears as if I never was to hear the last of anything!' At about this point, Mr. Gradgrind's eye would fall upon her; and under the influence of that wintry piece of fact, she would become torpid again. (1.9.68-70)

Mrs. Gradgrind feels mostly fear towards her husband, and he feels mostly disdain towards his wife.

Quote #3

'It's a bad job; that's what it is. You had better have been satisfied as you were, and not have got married. However, it's too late to say that.' 'Was it an unequal marriage, sir, in point of years?' asked Mrs. Sparsit […] 'Not e'en so. I were one-and-twenty myseln; she were twenty nighbut.' 'Indeed, sir?' said Mrs. Sparsit to her Chief, with great placidity. 'I inferred, from its being so miserable a marriage, that it was probably an unequal one in point of years.' (1.11.29-33)

It's funny, of course, that Mrs. Sparsit would say this. She is making a point to Bounderby, who wants to marry the much younger Louisa, but Mrs. Sparsit herself was married to a man fifteen years younger than she was!

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