Hard Times: etext and SELECTED QUOTES

Here is a link to the Gutenberg ‘Hard Times‘. which is very useful for finding words and phrases.   Below , you will find selected quotes, by chapter.


‘Now, what I want is, facts … Facts alone are wanted in life.’‘children are ‘little vessels … ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until   they were full to the brim.’

‘Square wall of a forehead’ and square coat, legs,   shoulders and finger (1ii)


‘little pitchers’

‘girl number 20’

‘in the beginning of a sunbeam’ which gave Sissy a more   ‘lustrous colour’.

‘Fact, fact, fact.’

‘man of realities.    A man of facts and calculations.’

Caught the end of the sunbeam that further drew out   Bitzer’s ‘little colour’

‘Quadruped.   Graminivorous.  Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth and twelve incisive.’


‘He intended every child in [his school] to be a   model’

‘machine’.  ‘Stone   Lodge’ ‘ a very regular feature’

‘according to the system’

‘eminently practical’

‘square house’

‘all ruled straight’

Louisa becomes ‘a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn’

‘The clashing and banging band.’



‘of surpassing feebleness’, ‘invariably stunned by some   weighty piece if fact tumbling on her’

‘go and be somethingological’

‘banker, merchant, manufacturer, and whatnot.’

‘puffed’, ‘swelled’, ‘strained’, ‘inflated like a   balloon’, ‘windy boastfulness’ ‘blustered’

‘bully of humility’

‘sniffing vengefully at the fire’


‘key note’

‘fact, fact, fact [is] everywhere in the material aspect’ of it

‘would have been red if the smoke and ashes has allowed   it’

‘unnatural red and black like the painted face of a   savage.’

‘interminable serpents   of smoke’

‘sacred to fact’.

‘acts of Parliament … should make thesepeople religious

would get   drunk’

‘take opium’

‘resort to low haunts’

‘a bad lot altogether’

‘They lived upon the best … yet were eternally   dissatisfied and unmanageable’.

‘like the head of an elephant in  a state of melancholy madness’(&   2i)

‘to whom every day was the same as yesterday and   tomorrow’.

‘hard set’.

‘he is not unkind’

a ‘metallic laugh’

‘being idle’

‘slowly opened   it as if she were releasing dust or ash.’


a ‘brute’

‘made a will at twelve’



‘a moral infection of clap-trap in him’

‘Never wonder’



‘eighteen [different religious] denominations’

‘never to wonder’

‘take everything on trust’

‘take everything on political economy’

‘the good save whilst the bad are transported, knowledge   has pitfalls’.

‘a Powler’



‘mere fables’, ‘De Foe’, ‘Goldsmith’

‘every kind of ation’

‘a sulky face’ and ‘sulky hands’

‘watching the sparks awhile’ knowing she ‘can’t play … or   sing

never sees ‘any amusing sights or read any amusing books

‘looking at the red   sparks dropping out of the fire, and whitening and dying’


‘expect to be   set up in a coach and six, and to be fed on turtle soup and venison, with a   gold spoon.’

‘I thought it must be just as hard upon those who were   starved, whether the others were a million, or a million million.’.

Thepercentage   of the number of deaths at sea ‘was nothing … to the relations and friends of   thepeople who were killed.’.

‘with a strong wild wandering interest … gone astray like   a banished creature, and hiding in solitary places.’.

‘Arabian Nights’

‘forget all his troubles in wondering’.

‘Fantstic hope  could take as strong a hold as fact.’

‘life … went monotonously round like a piece of machinery   which discouraged human interference’.

‘I entertain a weak   idea that the English people are   as hard worked as any people upon   whom the sun shines … a reason why I would give them a little more   play.’



‘ugly citadel, where Nature was as strongly bricked out as   killing airs and gases were bricked in.’

‘an immense variety of stunted and crooked shapes’

‘like Fairy Palaces’ when the lights were illuminated’.

‘cast Titanic   shadows’


‘generically called ‘the Hands’

‘trailed themselves upon the earth’ … ‘submissive to the   curse of all that tribe’

‘but a little bread’

‘chop and sherry’

‘Set anywhere, side by side, the work of GOD and the work   of man; and the former, even though it be a troop of hands of very small   account, will gain in dignity from the comparison.’.


‘like the competing   Towers of Babel’

‘The Serpent was a Serpent   of many coils’.

‘the elephant was getting ready’.

‘heavy thrum’ as ‘proud music’.


‘deaf … dumb … blind … lame … dead honourable gentlemen.’

‘eminently practical way’

‘young gentleman of pleasure’

‘watching the bright ashes at twilight as they fell into   the grate and became extinct’ and looking at ‘the short-lived sparks that so   soon subsided into ashes’

‘she tried to discover  what kind of woof Old Time, that greatest and longest-established spinner of   all, would weave from the threads that he had already spun into a   woman.’


‘when the night comes, Fire bursts out.’

‘what does it matter!’

‘impassive, proud and cold’ towards her


‘not very tidy’

‘not at all orderly,’

‘remarkable gentleness and kindness’

‘in very natural attitudes, kissing and embracing [Sissy];   and brought the children to take leave of her.’



‘Somebody else had become possessed of his roses and he   had become possessed of the same somebody else’s thorns in addition to his   own’

‘perfect   integrity’


no ‘servile’ bow

a ‘born lady’

‘I were born myseln.’

He despairs and feels, ‘the sooner I am dead, the better.’


‘so unequal a hand as Death.’




‘does not pretend to anything fanciful, fantastic or (I am   using synonymous terms) sentimental.’

‘ological studies to good account’

‘artificial barriers … between himself and all those   subtle essences of humanity’ ‘deadly-statistical clock’

‘complicated social questions were cast up, got into exact   totals, and finally settled’



‘Your fireside, sir’

‘with such great condescension’ and ‘such great   compassion’ in ‘a highly superior   manner’

‘eight or nine little children, who did the fairy business   when required’

‘real gauze let in for his wings, golden stars stuck on   all over him and his ethereal harness made of red silk.’

‘no rebound in her’


his ‘foil’

‘Down feathers’ versus ‘paving stone’

‘reclaimed and formed’


the law is ‘not for you at all’


‘not a tone of her voice but had its echo in his innermost   heart’.

‘thou [Rachael] and me at last shall walk together far   awa’, beyond the deep gulf, in th’ country where thy little sister is.’

‘a glory shining round her head.’

‘an Angel’


Sissy ‘could hardly be set forth in a tabular form.’


She ‘looked in wonder, in pity, in sorrow, in doubt, in a   multitude of emotions.’




‘There is a stifling smell of hot oil everywhere’  ‘black and thick with dye’

‘soot and smoke’

‘sulky blotch’

‘would sooner pitch   [their] property into the   Atlantic’

‘ill-smelling’ and ‘dyed black’

neither ‘recreations’ nor a ‘wife and family’

‘the respectable   office of spy and general informer’

expected to   ‘rise in the world’

‘his mind was so exactly regulated, that he had no   affectations or passions.’

‘strictly according to pattern’

‘a certain air of exhaustion upon him’

‘fatigued’ and ‘weary of everything’

‘thorough gentleman’

Harthouse: a ‘certain gallantry’


‘the Gradgrind party wanted assistance in cutting the   throats of the graces’


‘I attach not the least importance to any opinions … Any   set of ideas will do just as much good as any other set, and just as much   harm as any other set.’

‘so constrained and yet so careless; so reserved and yet   so watchful; so cold and proud, and yet so sensitively ashamed of her   husband’s braggart humility’

‘no graceful little   adornment, no fanciful little device’


Tom: a ‘whelp’

a ‘hypocrite’

‘incapable of governing himself’

troubled by the ‘ghost’ of imagination


‘gusty weather with deceitful calms’

‘blowing a gale’

‘blowing a hurricane’

‘a promess’

‘faithful to his class’

‘faithful to the last to those that had repudiated him’



‘utter want of calculation’

‘the trees arched over him, whispering   that he left a true and loving heart behind.’



‘as a maggot in a nut’

‘the fallen leaves of last year as she had watched the   fallen ashes at home’

‘chained her down to material realities’

a ‘disposition to believe in a wider and a nobler   humanity’



‘has no earnest wickedness of purpose in him’




‘the Head to be all-sufficient’

‘like a sum’

‘in a business-like manner’

‘acrimony and contempt’



‘there is something – not an Ology at all’

‘the national dustyard’, ‘sifting and sifting at his   Parliamentary cinder heap’


‘Where are the graces of my soul?  Where are the sentiments of my heart?  What have you done, O father, what have you   done, with the garden that should have bloomed once, in this great wilderness   here?

‘the triumph of his system lying, in an insensible heap,   at his feet.’


‘much dejected by the immorality of thepeople.’ and their ‘impiety’ (1xi)



‘exalted hugely’



‘stiff-legged compasses’

‘with his little mean exercise rod’

‘annihilating the flowers of existence’

‘somepersons   hold .. that there is a wisdom of the Head, and that there is a wisdom of the   Heart.’

‘have been harshly neglected’

‘not quite right’


‘the ground ceased to be solid’

she ‘suffered the wreck of her whole life upon the rock’

Goodness in Louisa ‘has been laid to waste’


Sissy ‘shone like a light’ on Louisa’s ‘darkness’


Bounderby: a ‘bear’,

Mrs Sparsit: a ‘Griffin’

Gradgrind:‘a machine’

‘I am not a moral sort of fellow’

a ‘nest of addled eggs’

‘a great pyramid of failure’

‘ashamed of himself’.

‘not afraid’ nor ‘disconcerted’

‘You may be sure, sir, you will never see her again as   long as you live.’


‘artifice’ aside

‘fact or no fact’

‘only a stroller’



‘sentimental humbug’

‘for better for worse’

‘crammed’ into a coach.

‘discharged [his words] like a Rocket’



‘were indifferent   who was lost or found’

‘abated nothing of their set routine’

‘a commercial wonder more admirable than Venus’

‘the honestest lad, the truest lad, the best!’

‘serpent in the   garden’

Stephen: a ‘viper’

‘the general assemblage subscribed to the gospel according to Slackbridge’

‘as a rock throws off the sea.’

‘the obscurist part of the room, near the door.’


‘windy reputation’

‘cut a most ridiculous figure’

Not ‘more shorn and folorn if he had had his ears cropped’ (3v)

‘showed as a black mist’

‘not trouble him’

‘the Hard Fact men’

‘The Lodge’

‘officious nose’

‘in an ecstacy of excitement’



‘When it were in work, it killed wi’out need; when ’tis   let alone, it kills wi’out need.  See   how we die an no need, one way an another’.

‘the star had shown him where to find the God of the poor;   and through humility, and sorrow, and forgiveness. he had gone to his   Redeemer’s rest.’



‘a wiser man and a better man’

‘scant of dress, and so demonstrative of leg’

‘swelling like an immense soap bubble’

‘wicked shadow’

‘on accounth of fat’

‘villainous whelp’

In ‘comic livery’

Sissy: ‘a good fairy’ and ‘alwyth a favourite with uth’

‘fairy bithnith’

‘Children in the Wood’




‘there ith a love   in the world, not all Thelf-interest after all, but thomething very   different; t’other, that it hath a way of ith own of calculating or not   calculating, whith thomehow or other ith at leatht as hard to give a name to   ath the wayth of the dogth ith.’

‘business-like and logical manner’

‘that the whole social system is a question of self   interest’                                          ‘everything was to be paid for.’                                                                           ‘Gratitude was to be abolished’

‘Bitzer … have you a heart?’

‘People mutht be amuthed’

‘You mutht have   uth’



‘darkest scorn’


‘christened Rachael’

‘pensive   beauty’


speaks   ‘majestically’

‘national prosperity   figures’

‘Writing on the Wall’.

‘a childhood of the mind’

‘a more beautiful thing and a possession, any hoarded   scrap of which, is a blessing and a happiness to the wisest’

‘learned … thinking no innocent and pretty fancy [of   children should] ever be despised’

‘to beautify lives of machinery and reality with those   imaginative graces and delights, without which the heart of infancy will   wither up, the sturdieast physical manhood will be morally stark death.’

‘as a duty to be done’, saying: ‘Let them be!’

‘to see the ashes of our fires turn grey and cold’

‘quibble, plunder, false pretences, vile example, little   service and much law.’

‘his facts and figures subservient to Faith, Hopeand Charity’,

‘late political associates … who owe no duty to an   abstraction called a People’

‘a gentler and a humbler face’



Other quotes to   note



‘Josiah Bounderby of Coketown’


‘a muddle’

‘I would fancy’.


‘Dost thou think that thou wilt always kill outright the   robber Fancy lurking within – or sometimes only maim him and distort him!’   (where is this to be found?)

‘Facts alone are wanted in life.  Plant nothing else, and root out everything   else.’ (where is this?)

‘little parrots and small calculating machines’ (from a   Dickens lecture 1857)

‘Educational provision remained heavily class based, the   educational opportunities for the children of the very poor remained   extremely limited, while the content of instruction … tried to provide the   very barest literate and numerate skills appropriate for the simplist   routines of life in industrial society.’ (‘The Victorians’, Laurence Lerner)

‘the Age of Machinery, in every outward and inward sense   of the word.’ (‘Signs of the Times’ 1829, Thomas Carlyle)

Men have ‘grown mechanical in the head and heart as well   as hand.’ (Dickens)



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