Last Updated January 12, 2023.
Mrs. Sparsit’s pity for Mr. Bounderby is having its desired effect, and he insists that she remain at the estate. Mrs. Sparsit now sees in her mind’s eye a grand staircase, and she watches Louisa descending lower and lower into disgrace. She looks on with interest and even glee as Louisa steadily approaches her ruin.
There is no solution to the bank robbery as yet, and Mr. Bounderby does not care to speak much of it, especially about the mysterious old woman. Louisa and Mr. Harthouse meet in the garden and discuss the robbery. Louisa has a difficult time believing that Stephen is the culprit, but she says she does not understand much of human nature. Mr. Harthouse tries to tell her that it would be perfectly possible for Stephen to have robbed the bank. It would be such a common thing, he says. Louisa thinks there must be something bad in her to make her want to agree with him and to feel better by his words.
Mrs. Sparsit continues to observe the comings and goings of Mr. Harthouse and imagine Louisa descending farther and farther down the staircase of her imagination.