Narrator: In the drawing-room of Stone Lodge, standing on the hearthrug, warming himself before the fire, Mr Bounderby, banker and mill owner, remembers his childhood.
Bounderby: I hadn’t a shoe to my foot. I passed the day in a ditch, and the night in a pigsty. I was born in a ditch. I was one of the most miserable little wretches ever seen. I was so ragged and dirty, that you wouldn’t have touched me with a pair of tongs.
Narrator: He was a rich man: banker, merchant, manufacturer and what not.
A big, loud man. A man made out of a coarse material, which seemed to have been stretched to make so much of him
Bounderby: How I fought through it, I don’t know. I was determined, I suppose.. Here I am, anyhow, and nobody to thank for my being here, but myself.
My mother? What mother! I hardly knew her. She ran off and left me to my grandmother; and my grandmother was the wickedest old woman that ever lived. If I got a little pair of shoes by any chance, she would take ’em off and sell ’em for drink. When I was a baby, she kept me in an egg-box. That was my cot; an old egg-box. As soon as I was big enough to run away, of course I ran away.
Narrator: A man who could never boast enough of being a self-made man.
Bounderby: Then I became a young vagabond I was a nuisance and a pest.
Now, here I am. Josiah Bounderby of Coketown; banker, merchant, manufacturer and what not. Coketown, a town of smoke.
Narrator: A man with a great puffed head and forehead and such a strained skin to his face that it seemed to hold his eyes open, and lift his eyebrows up. A man with an appearance like an inflated balloon.
Bounderby: Yes, the smoke of Coketown: that’s meat and drink to us. It’s the healthiest thing in the world and particularly for the lungs. Now, about the work in our mills, the fact is it’s the pleasantest work there is and it’s the best paid work there is. More than that, we couldn’t improve the mills themselves, unless we laid down thick carpets on the floors. Which we’re not a going to do.
Narrator: Yes, he was a rich man: banker, merchant, factory owner and what not.
Bounderby: Lastly, our workers, man, woman, or child, all have just one object in life. That object is, to be fed on turtle soup with a gold spoon. Now, they’re not going — none of ’em — ever to be fed on turtle soup with a gold spoon. And now you know the place, Coketown and you know me, Bounderby.