Book 3, Chapter 4 Summary

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Last Updated January 12, 2023.

Mr. Bounderby focuses his attention on the bank robbery. There are no new developments, but he is still certain that Stephen Blackpool has done the deed. He prints up broadsheets with Stephen’s description and the accusation, and Coketown is stunned by them. Slackbridge claims that he expected nothing less, and he twists Stephen’s final words to the workers into something sinister. A few do not agree with him, but most fall in line with the opinion.

Mr. Bounderby appears at the Gradgrind home along with Tom and Rachael. Louisa readily admits that she visited Stephen’s room and saw Rachael and the woman there. She verifies Rachael’s story on every point. Rachael is furious that Stephen’s name has been smeared, and she mistrusts Louisa, at least at first. Yet she knows where Stephen is, and she has written to him. He should return in two days time to clear his name. Mr. Bounderby accuses her that the post office has seen no letter to Stephen Blackpool, but Rachael replies that he is living and working under another name. Mr. Bounderby sees the worst in this.

Rachael pleads with Louisa, saying that there was nothing else Stephen could have done under the circumstances. She firmly maintains that he will come back. Mr. Bounderby and Tom leave, but Rachael stays to talk more with Louisa and Sissy. She apologizes for not trusting Louisa. But she cannot think why Stephen would have been near the bank at all.

Four days go by, and Stephen has not come. Mr. Bounderby sends out messengers who confirm that Stephen received Rachael’s letter and left at once toward Coketown. Some think that he has fled. More time passes, and still there is no Stephen.

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