Last Updated January 12, 2023.
Mrs. Sparsit remains at the Bounderby home, watching everything and seeming to be everywhere at once. She treats Mr. Harthouse in a kindly fashion and fishes for information about his relationship with Louisa. She also continues her regimen of pity for Mr. Bounderby, letting him know that his wife is not caring for him as she should and taking it upon herself to fill in the gaps.
Mr. Bounderby and Louisa have a slight argument that ends abruptly when she tells him she does not care to know his meaning. “What does it matter?” she asks. Yet Mrs. Sparsit’s interference brings Louisa and Mr. Harthouse closer together even though the lady herself insults Mr. Bounderby’s portrait when he is not present, calling him “Noodle.”
Louisa receives a message that her mother is ill, and she goes to her at once. She has seldom been at her old home since her marriage, for it has none of the fancies or fond memories of childhood associated with it. When Louisa arrives, she finds Sissy by her mother’s side along with her younger sister, Jane.
Mrs. Gradgind is only partly lucid. She comments on how much Jane looks like Louisa and then wants to talk to Louisa alone. There is something she is trying to remember, Mrs. Gradgrind frets. She cannot quite capture it. She speaks of Louisa’s education but feels like something has been missed or forgotten in it. She wants to write a letter to her husband about it, but she is no longer capable of doing so and soon passes away.