Hard Times – Facts

Hard Times


Gradgrind: Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of children upon Facts. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir,  nothing but Facts!  Pupil number twenty! I don’t know that girl. Who is that girl?’

Pupil 1: Sissy Jupe, sir

Gradgrind: Sissy is not a name. Don’t call yourself Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia.

Pupil 1: My father calls me Sissy, sir.

Gradgrind: Then he has no business to do so. Tell him he mustn’t. Cecilia Jupe!

 Pupil 1: Sir!

Gradgrind: What is your father?’

Pupil 1: He trains horses in the circus, if you please, sir.

Gradgrind: Your father trains horses, does he? Well, we don’t want to know anything about that, here. You mustn’t tell us about that, here.

Pupil 1: If you please, sir, in the circus, sir, when they can get any to train, they do train horses –  in the ring, sir.

Gradgrind: You mustn’t tell us about the ring, here. Very well, then. Describe your father as a horse trainer He doctors sick horses, I dare say?

Pupil 1: Oh yes, sir.

Gradgrind: Very well, then. He is a veterinary surgeon. Cecilia Jupe, give me your definition of a horse.

Pupil 1: Sir?


Gradgrind: Pupil number twenty unable to define a horse!  Pupil number twenty possessed of no facts. Bitzer, your definition of a horse!

Pupil 2: Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth. A horse!

Gradgrind: Now pupil number twenty. You know what a horse is. Very well. That’s a horse. Now, let me ask you: would you paper a room with pictures of horses?

Pupil 1: Yes, sir!…..er…no, sir!

Gradgrind: Of course, not! And why wouldn’t you?’

Pupil 1: Because I wouldn’t paper a room at all. I’d paint it.

Gradgrind: You must paper it, whether you like it or not. What do you mean, girl? I’ll explain to you why you wouldn’t paper a room with pictures of horses. Do you ever see horses walking up and down the sides of rooms in reality, in fact? Do you?’

Pupil 1: Yes, sir! No, sir!

Gradgrind: Of course not.

Pupil 1: It wouldn’t hurt them, sir. I would fancy….

Gradgrind: But you mustn’t fancy. That’s it! You are never to fancy! Fact, fact, fact. You are to be in all things regulated and governed, by fact. You must discard the word Fancy altogether. You have nothing to do with it. You don’t find horses walking up and down  walls, so you must not have pictures of horses on your walls. This is the new discovery. This is fact.