Why, Mr. Bounderby was as near being Mr. Gradgrind’s bosom friend, as a man perfectly devoid of sentiment can approach that spiritual relationship towards another man perfectly devoid of sentiment.
His door being shut, she softly opened it and spoke to him, approaching his bed with a noiseless step.
Neither, as she approached her old home now, did any of the best influences of old home descend upon her.
Louisa had observed her with her arm round Sissy’s neck, and she felt the difference of this approach.
She shuddered to approach the pit; but she crept towards it on her hands and knees, and called to him as loud as she could call.
Louisa approached him; but he could not see her, lying with his face turned up to the night sky.
After watching it a long time, they saw Mr. Sleary bring out a chair and sit down by the side-door, smoking; as if that were his signal that they might approach.
Even when their eyes had met, and her sister had approached the bed, Louisa lay for minutes looking at her in silence, and suffering her timidly to hold her passive hand, before she asked: ’When was I brought to this room?’
It was impossible, even before dinner, to avoid often walking about in the pattern of the carpet, looking out of the window, listening at the door for footsteps, and occasionally becoming rather hot when any steps approached that room.
Several coaches were rattling before them and behind them as they approached Mr. Bounderby’s, and one of the latter drew up with such briskness as they were in the act of passing the house, that they looked round involuntarily.
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From this dismal spot they were rescued by a savage old postilion, who happened to be up early, kicking a horse in a fly: and so were smuggled into the town by all the back lanes where the pigs lived: which, although not a magnificent or even savoury approach, was, as is usual in such cases, the legitimate highway.