BOOK THE SECOND
The political party to which Gradgrind belongs needs recruits. One of these recruits happens to be the younger brother of a fine gentleman. The younger man has tried a variety of occupations and diversions- cavalry officer, assistant to an ambassador, yachtsman- and found them all boring. Meeting Gradgrind and his political cronies (the "Hard Fact fellows"), the young man impressed them. They decided to send him to Coketown to meet influential people there. And that is how James Harthouse found himself at Bounderby's that sunny day.
Harthouse meets with Bounderby, who immediately sets him straight about Coketown. The smoke, says Bounderby, is good for the lungs, and mill work is the most pleasant and easy work there is. As for the workers, all they want is to eat venison and turtle soup with a gold spoon! No matter what Harthouse might have heard, these are the facts- according to Bounderby.
When Harthouse meets Louisa, he is immediately attracted to her, particularly to the emotions that lie buried beneath her cool exterior.
Harthouse is a man without a fixed opinion or philosophy. He supports the Gradgrind party because it is the first one that accepted him. One set of ideas is as good as the next to him.
The more time Harthouse spends with Bounderby, the more bored he becomes. But one thing keeps him from abandoning this newfound political life: the intriguing thought of bringing some expression to Louisa's beautiful, passive face. Harthouse observes at dinner that Tom is the only person she cares for. Thinking that Tom is his key to unlocking Louisa's heart, Harthouse allows the young man to show him to his hotel.
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