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PAGE 2

Sissy Jupe
by [?]

“There being a general conviction by this time that, ‘No sir!’ was always the right answer to this gentleman, the chorus of No was very strong. Only a few feeble stragglers said Yes; among them Sissy Jupe.”

“Girl number twenty,” said the gentleman, “why would you carpet your room with representations of flowers?”

“If you please, sir, I’m very fond of flowers,” returned the girl.

“And is that why you would put tables and chairs upon them, and have people walking over them with heavy boots?”

“It wouldn’t hurt them, sir. They wouldn’t crush and wither, please sir. They would be the pictures of what was very pretty and pleasant, sir, and I would fancy–“

“Ay, ay, ay! but you mustn’t fancy,” cried the gentleman, quite elated by coming so happily to his point. “You are never to fancy.”

“You are not, Cecilia Jupe,” Thomas Gradgrind solemnly repeated, “to do anything of that kind. You don’t walk upon flowers in fact; you cannot be allowed to walk upon flowers in carpets. You don’t find that foreign birds and butterflies come and perch upon your crockery; you cannot be permitted to paint foreign birds and butterflies upon your crockery. You never meet with quadrupeds going up and down walls; you must not have quadrupeds represented upon walls. You must use,” said the gentleman, “for all these purposes, combinations and modifications in primary colors of mathematical figures which are susceptible of proof and demonstration. This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste.”

The girl curtseyed and sat down. She was very young, and she looked as if she were frightened by the matter-of-fact prospect the world afforded; while the teacher proceeded to give a lesson based upon hard Fact for the benefit of his visitors.

Mr. Gradgrind walked homeward from the school, in a state of considerable satisfaction. It was his school, and he intended it to be a model. He intended every child in it to be a model, just as the five young Gradgrinds were all models.

No little Gradgrind had ever seen a face in the moon; no little Gradgrind had ever learnt the silly jingle, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are”; each little Gradgrind having at five years old dissected the Great Bear, and driven Charles’s Wain like a locomotive engine-driver. No little Gradgrind had ever associated a cow in a field with that famous cow with a crumpled horn who tossed the dog, who worried the cat, who killed the rat, who ate the malt, or with that more famous cow who swallowed Tom Thumb. It had never heard of those celebrities, and had only been introduced to a cow as a graminivorous, ruminating quadruped with several stomachs.

To his matter-of-fact home, which was called Stone Lodge, Mr. Gradgrind directed his steps, walking on in a hopeful and satisfied frame of mind. He was an affectionate father, after his manner; but allowed no foolish sentiment to interfere with the practical basis of his childrens’ education and bringing-up.

He had reached the outskirts of the town, when his ears were invaded by the sound of the band attached to the horse-riding establishment, which had there set up its rest in a wooden pavilion. A flag floating from the summit of the temple, proclaimed to mankind that it was Sleary’s Horse-Riding which claimed their suffrages. Among the many pleasing wonders which must be seen to be believed, Signor Jupe was that afternoon to “elucidate the diverting accomplishments of his highly trained performing dog, Merrylegs,” He was also to exhibit “his astounding feat of throwing seventy-five hundred weight in rapid succession back-handed over his head, thus forming a fountain of solid iron in midair, a feat never before attempted in this or any other country, and which having elicited such rapturous plaudits from enthusiastic throngs it cannot be withdrawn.” The same Signor Jupe was to “enliven the varied performances at frequent intervals with his chaste Shakesperean quips and retorts.” Lastly, he was to wind them up by appearing in his favorite character of Mr. William Button, of Tooley Street, in “the highly novel and laughable Hippo Comedietta of The Tailor’s Journey to Brentford.”