My Dear Louisa,

"My Dear Louisa," Returned Mr. Gradgrind, Re-Assured and Satisfied, "You Correct Me Justly. I Merely Wished to Discharge My Duty." by Charles S. Reinhart (1844-1896). 13.3 cm wide by 10.2 cm high (horizontally mounted, with text above and below on a page 24 cm high by16.2 cm wide). This plate illustrates Book One, Chapter Fifteen, "Father and Daughter," in Charles Dickens's Hard Times, which appeared in American Household Edition, 1870. Page 158.

In Thomas Gradgrind's Blue-Book lined library, which Dickens describes as the Utilitarian equivalent of the astronomical observatory, while "a deadly statistical clock" beats an obligato, Louisa hears Bounderby's proposal of a marital partnership from the lips of her father. Neither seems moved by even the trace of a sentiment or emotion in Reinhart's plate, although Gradgrind does seem to be taking his daughter's hand sympathetically. In the illustration, no window reveals the smoke and grime of the factory town, no "deadly statistical clock" raps out the hours; instead, barely sketched in on the wall behind Louisa is a map and a graph. Several large books lean on their sides, as if several volumes have been abstracted from that lower shelf, as Louisa is about to be put into circulation as the wife of Gradgrind's fellow industrialist and chief political ally (and soon-to-be son-in-law). Fully visible rather than hidden by his top-hat, Gradgrind's skull is noticeably indented on the top, as if he had an extra brain, as he discounts the importance of mutual affection in a marriage.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


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Last modified 10 October 2002