Book 2, Chapter 2 Summary

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Last Updated January 12, 2023.

The young gentleman is Mr. James Harthouse, the younger brother of an associate of Mr. Gradgrind, and he has been wandering his way through the world, getting bored everywhere. His brother has sent him to Coketown to “go in” with the “hard Fact fellows” for a while.

Mr. Harthouse now presents himself at the Bounderby estate with his letter of introduction and a flattering attitude. Mr. Bounderby, as usual, pronounces on his own low background and rise up the social ladder and complains about the Hands. Then he introduces his guest to Louisa, whom Mr. Harthouse finds remarkable. He is baffled by her and by her situation. He converses with her about his own indolence and carelessness and about his lack of personal opinions until Mr. Bounderby interrupts.

When Tom walks in late for dinner, Mr. Harthouse notices Louisa's face light up with a beautiful smile. Realizing that Louisa cares for “the whelp,” Mr. Harthouse is even more intrigued, although he is thoroughly unimpressed with Tom, who agrees to show him back to his hotel.

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