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Hard Times

Charles Dickens

Summary and Analysis Book Two: Chapter 3


The seeds of Facts planted by Thomas Gradgrind in his son have become a harvest of deceit and hypocrisy. Flattered by Harthouse's interest, Tom reveals the circumstances of Louisa's marriage to Bounderby. Bragging that he was the only one who could influence her, Tom, while he drinks Harthouse's liquor and smokes his cigars, discusses Louisa's having never loved. Harthouse leads Tom on until he learns all that he wishes to know about Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit, and Louisa. More and more Harthouse becomes enchanted by the prospect of the "chase." Dickens concludes the chapter by philosophizing that Tom is so ignorant that he does not realize the damage he has done.