Book 1, Chapter 14 Summary

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Last Updated January 12, 2023.

Time passes. Louisa, Tom, and Sissy grow up. Sissy finishes school, quite unsatisfactorily in Mr. Gradgrind’s eyes. She still waits for her father, and while Mr. Gradgrind rebukes this, he acknowledges that she has become a useful member of the household and an affectionate young woman.

Mr. Gradgrind wins a seat in Parliament and becomes so busy that he hardly notices the growth of his children. One day he looks at Louisa and realizes that she has become “quite a young woman.” Thomas is now apprenticed to Mr. Bounderby, and on the day when Mr. Gradgrind asks Louisa to meet him the next morning for a serious talk, Tom comes to visit his sister.

Tom tells Louisa that their father is with Mr. Bounderby that evening. Then he asks her if she is fond of her brother. Louisa assures him that she is but scolds him gently for not coming to see her more often. Tom hints that they might be together a good deal more and that Louisa should always remember how fond of him she is. The narrator reflects on Old Time and his secret factory in which he quietly spins out lives.

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