Hard Times – Father and Daughter

HARD TIMES

FATHER AND DAUGHTER

Louisa: Father, do you think I love Mr Bounderby?
Gradgrind: Well, my child, I — really — cannot say…
Louisa: Father, does Mr Bounderby ask me to love him?
Gradgrind: Really, my dear, it is difficult to answer your question…
Louisa: Difficult to answer it, Yes or No, father?
Gradgirnd: The reply depends, my dear Louisa, on the sense in which we use the expression ‘love’.
Louisa: What would you advise me to use instead of ‘love’, father?
Gradgrind: Well, Louisa, I would advise you to consider this question simply as one of Fact.
Louisa: What do you recommend, father, that I should substitute for the term I used just now? For ‘love’?
Gradgrind: Louisa, if you stick rigidly to Fact, the question of Fact you ask yourself is: Does Mr Bounderby ask me to marry him? Yes, he does. The only remaining question then is: Shall I marry him? (Pause) Are you consulting the chimneys of the Coketown works, Louisa?
Louisa: There seems to be nothing there but monotonous smoke. Yet when the night comes, Fire bursts out, father!
Gradgrind: Louisa, have you ever received in secret any other proposal?’
Louisa: Father, what other proposal can have been made to me? Whom have I seen? Where have I been? What are my heart’s experiences? What do I know, father, of tastes and fancies; of aspirations and affections. I never had a child’s heart. You have trained me so well, that I never dreamed a child’s dream.

LATER

Louisa: Father, how could you give me life, and take from me all the things that raise it from the state of conscious death? Where are the graces of my soul? Where are the sentiments of my heart? What have you done, father, what have you done, with the garden that should have bloomed once, in this great wilderness here! Father, you remember the last time we conversed in this room?
Gradgrind: Yes, Louisa.
Louisa: Father, if you had known, when we were last together here…if you had known that there was in my breast, sensibilities and affections which defy all the arithmetic ever made by man,— would you have given me to the husband whom I am now sure that I hate?
Gradgrind: No. No, my poor child.
Loiusa: Would you have robbed me of the spring and summer of my belief, my refuge from what is sordid and bad in the real things around me?
Gradgrind: No, no. No, Louisa.
Louisa: Yet, father, if I had been free to exercise my fancy I should have been a million times wiser, happier, more loving, more contented, more innocent and human than I am now.
Gradgrind: I never knew you were unhappy, my child.
Narrator: Gradgrind saw the pride of his heart and the triumph of his system, lying, an insensible heap, at his feet

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