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Dickens makes no secret of his contempt for Tom- he's a hypocrite, a monster. Harthouse holds him in contempt as well but has his own uses for Tom. He invites him to his room for a rare treat, a drink and a smoke.

NOTE: Harthouse's private term for Tom is "the whelp," a slang term for a young person, derived from the word used to describe the offspring of a dog, lion, bear, or other carnivorous mammal.

Harthouse eggs Tom on about his sister and Bounderby. Tom, smoking, drinking, and feeling important, is an easy target. He tells Harthouse that Louisa doesn't care for Bounderby and never did. Tom had persuaded her to marry the man to make his own life easier. But he doesn't worry about Louisa. She has powerful hidden resources, although he admits she's as innocent and unsophisticated as when she first left home.

Tom drifts off to sleep from the powerful effects of the alcohol and tobacco. When he awakens and Harthouse sends him home, Tom feels he has been influenced by this new friend in an unusual way. If only he knew what the influence would mean, Dickens tells us, he might have jumped in the river and ended his life once and for all.

Dickens's final comment lets us know that Harthouse is up to no good. The mystery of Harthouse and what he will mean to Louisa and Bounderby continues.  


ECC [Hard Times Contents] []

© Copyright 1985 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
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