?

Log in

louisasissytom's Journal

Name:
A community dedicated to the Hard Times 'children'
Membership:
Open
Posting Access:
All Members , Moderated
SPOILERS IN THE INTERESTS SECTION AND BELOW, SORRY

The oh-so-meagre Tom/Sissy (for the benefit of the unenlightened, 'the whelp' is Tom)
(Mrs Gradgrind re: Sissy) 'The girl wanted to come to the school, and Mr Gradgrind wanted girls to come to the school, and Louisa and Thomas both said that the girl wanted to come, and that Mr Gradgrind wanted girls to come, and how was it possible to contradict them when such was the fact!'

~

'I am sick of my life, Loo. I hate it altogether, and I hate everybody except you.'

'You don't hate Sissy, Tom?'

'I hate to be obliged to call her Jupe. And she hates me,' said Tom, moodily.

'No she does not Tom, I am sure!'

'She must,' said Tom, 'She must just hate and detest the whole set-out of us. They'll bother her head off, I think, before they have done with her. Already she is getting as pale as wax and as heavy as - I am.'

~

When Mr Gradgrind was summoned to the couch, Sissy, attentive to all that happened, slipped behind that wicked shadow - a sight in the horror of his face, if there had been eyes there for any but one - and whispered in his ear. Without turning his head, he conferred with her for a few moments and vanished. Thus the whelp had gone out of the circle before the people moved.

~

'...I went to him when no one saw, and said to him, "Don't look at me. See where your father is. Escape at once, for his sake and your own!" He was in a tremble before I whispered to him, and he started and trembled more then, and said, "Where can I go? I have very little money, and I don't know who will hide me!" I thought of father's old circus. I have not forgotten where Mr Sleary goes at this time of year, and I read of him in a paper only the other day. I told him to hurry there, and tell his name, and ask Mr Sleary to hide him till I came. "I'll get to him before the morning," he said. And I saw him slink away among the people.'

~

At first the whelp would not draw any nearer, but persisted in remaining up there by himself. Yielding at length, if any concession so suddenly made can be called yielding, to the entreaties of Sissy...he came down.

Sissy/Louisa - only the most ~hinting~ tidbits

'It would be a fine thing to be you, Miss Louisa!' (during Louisa teaching her)

...

'You might not be the better for it.'

...

'You are pleasanter to yourself, than I am to myself.'

~

'But if you please, Miss Louisa, I am - O so stupid!'

Louisa, with a brighter laugh than usual, told her she would be wiser bye-and-bye.

...

'Did your father love her?' Louisa asked these questions with a strong, wild, wandering interest peculiar to her; an interest gone astray like a banished creature, and hiding in solitary places. (Sissy is telling her all the details of her life (including very personal information), and Louisa is interested and listening.)

~

...whenever Sissy dropped a curtsey to Mr Gradgrind in the presence of his family, and said in a faltering way, 'I beg your pardon, sir, for being troublesome - but - have you had any letter yet about me?'

Louisa would suspend the occupation of the moment, whatever it was, and look for the reply as earnestly as Sissy did.

And when Mr Gradgrind regularly answered, 'No, Jupe, nothing of the sort,' the trembling of Sissy's lip would be repeated in Louisa's face, and her eyes would follow Sissy's with compassion to the door.

~

When Mr Gradgrind had presented Mrs Bounderby, Sissy had suddenly turned her head, and looked, in wonder, in pity, in sorrow, in doubt, in a multitude of emotions, towards Louisa. Louisa had known it, and seen it, without looking at her. From that moment she was impassive, proud and cold - held Sissy at a distance - changed to her altogether.

~

It was well that soft touch came upon her neck, and that she understood herseelf to be supposed to have fallen asleep. The sympathetic hand did not claim her resentment. Let it lie there, let it lie.

It lay there, warming into life a crowd of gentler thoughts; and she rested. As she softened with the quiet, and the consciousness of being so watched, some tears made their way into her eyes. The face touched hers, and she knew that there were tears upon it too, and she the cause of them.

As Louisa feigned to rouse herself, and sat up, Sissy retired, so that she stood placidly near the bedside.

'I hope I have not disturbed you. I have come to ask if you would let me stay with you?'

'Why should you stay with me? My sister will miss you. You are everything to her.'

'Am I?' returned Sissy, shaking her head. 'I would be something to you, if I might.'

'What?' said Louisa, almost sternly.

'Whatever you want most, if I could be that. At all events, I would like to try to be as near to it as I can. And however far off that may be, I will never tire of trying. Will you let me?'

...

'Have I always hated you so much?'

'I hope not, for I have always loved you, and have always wished that you should know it. But you changed to me a little, shortly before you left home. Not that I wondered at it. You knew so much, and I knew so little, and it was natural in many ways, going as you were among other friends, that I had nothing to complain of, and was not at all hurt.' Her colour rose as she said it modestly and hurriedly. Louisa understood the loving pretence, and her heart smote her.

'May I try?' said Sissy, emboldened to raise her hand to the neck that was insensibly drooping towards her.

Louisa, taking down the hand that would have embraced her in another moment, held it in one of hers: 'First, Sissy, do you know what I am? I am so proud and so hardened, so confused and troubled, so resentful and unjust to every one and myself, that everything is stormy, dark, and wicked to me. Does not that repel you?'

'No!'

'I am so unhappy, and all that should have made me otherwise is so laid waste, that if I had been bereft of sense to this hour, and instead of being as learned as you think me, had to begin to acquire the simplest truths, I could not want a guide to peace, contentment, honour, all the good of which I am devoid, more abjectly than I do. Does not that repel you?'

'No!'

In the innocence of her brave affection, and brimming up of her old devoted spirit, the once deserted girl shone like a beautiful light upon the darkness of the other.

Louisa raised the hand that it might clasp her neck and join its fellow there. She fell upon her knees and clinging to this stroller's child looked up at her almost with veneration.

'Forgive me, pity me, help me! Have compassion on my great need, and let me lay this head of mine upon a loving heart?'

'O lay it here,' said Sissy. 'Lay it here, my dear.'

~

Sissy goes to see Harthouse and insists he leaves immediately. Also - 'I have only the commission of my love for her, and her love for me.'

~

Happy Sissy's happy children loving her.

Tom&Louisa (+ character study)

There were five young Gradgrinds, and they were models every one. They had been lectured at, from their tenderest years; coursed, like little hares. Almost as soon as they could run alone, they had been made to run to the lecture-room.

...

No litle Gradgrind had ever seen a face in the moon; it was up in the moon before it could speak distinctly. ... No little Gradgrind had ever known wonder on the subject...

...

...everything that the heart could desire.

Everything? Well, I suppose so. The little Gradgrinds had cabinets in various departments of science too. ... If the greedy little Gradgrinds grasped at more than this, what was it for good gracious goodness' sake, that the greedy little Gradgrinds grasped at!

...

(Gradgrind catches them looking at the circus)

'Thomas, though I have the fact before me, I find it difficult to believe that you, with your education and resources, should have brought your sister to a scene like this.'

'I brought him, Father,' said Louisa quickly. 'I asked him to come.'

'I am sorry to hear it. I am very sorry indeed to hear it. It makes Thomas no better, and it makes you worse, Louisa.'

She looked at her father again, but no tear fell down her cheek.

...

'I was tired, father. I have been tired a long time,' said Louisa.

'Tired? Of what?' asked the astonished father.

'I don't know of what - of everything I think.'

'Say not another word,' returned Mr Gradgrind. 'You are childish. I will hear no more.' ... '...What would Mr Bounderby say?'

At the mention of this name, his daughter stole a look at him, remarkable for its intense and searching character. He saw nothing of it, for before he looked at her, she had again cast down her eyes!

~

'How can you, Louisa and Thomas! I wonder at you. I declare you're enough to make one regret ever having had a femily at all. I have a great mind to say I wish I hadn't. Then what would you have done, I should like to know.' (Mrs Gradgrind)

...

'You know as well as I do, no young people have circus masters, or keep circuses in cabinets, or attend lectures about circuses. What can you possibly want to know of circuses then? I am sure you have enough to do, if that's what you want. With my head in its present state, I couldn't remember the mere names of half the facts you have got to attend to.'

'That's the reason!' pouted Louisa.

~

Louisa languidly leaned upon the window looking out, without looking at anything, while young Thomas stood sniffing revengefully at the fire.

...

'It's all right now, Louisa: it's all right, young Thomas,' said Mr Bounderby; 'you won't do so any more. I'll answer for it's being all over with father. Well, Louisa, that's worth a kiss, isn't it?'

'You can take one, Mr Bounderby,' returned Louisa, when she had coldly paused, and slowly walked across the room, and ungraciously raised her cheek towards him, with her face turned away.

'Always my pet; ain't you, Louisa?' said Mr Bounderby. 'Good bye, Louisa!'

He went his way, but she stood on the same spot, rubbing the cheek he had kissed, with her handkerchief, until it was burning red. She was still doing this, five minutes afterwards.

'What are you about, Loo?' her brother sulkily remonstrated. 'You'll rub a hole in your face.'

'You may cut the piece out with your penknife if you like, Tom. I wouldn't cry!'

~

When she was half a dozen years younger, Louisa had been overheard to begin a conversation with her brother one day, by saying 'Tom, I wonder' - upon which Mr Gradgrind, who was the person overhearing, stepped forth into the light and said, 'Louisa, never wonder!'

~

'I am sick of my life, Loo. I hate it altogether, and I hate everybody except you,' said the unnatural young Thomas Gradgrind in the haircutting chamber at twilight.

'You don't hate Sissy, Tom?'

'I hate to be obliged to call her Jupe. And she hates me,' said Tom, moodily.

'No she does not Tom, I am sure!'

'She must,' said Tom, 'She must just hate and detest the whole set-out of us. They'll bother her head off, I think, before they have done with her. Already she is getting as pale as wax and as heavy as - I am.'

Young Thomas expressed these sentiments sitting astride of a chair before the fire, with his arms on the back, and his sulky face on his arms. His sister sat in the darker corner by the fireside, now looking at him, now looking at the bright sparks as they dropped upon the hearth.

'As to me,' said Tom, tumbling his hair all manner of ways with his sulky hands, 'I am a Donkey, that's what I am. I am as obstinate as one, I am more stupid than one, I get as much pleasure as one, and I should like to kick like one.'

'Not me, I hope, Tom?'

'No, Loo; I wouldn't hurt you. I made an exception of you at first. I don't know what this - jolly old - Jaundiced Jail,' Tom had paused to find a sufficiently complimentary and expressive name for the parental roof, and seemed to relieve his mind for a moment by the strong alliteration of this one, 'would be without you.'

'Indeed, Tom? Do you really and truly say so?'

'Why, of course I do. What's the use of talking about it!' returned Tom, chafing his face on his coat-sleeve, as if to mortify his flesh, and have it in unison with his spirit.

'Because, Tom,' said his sister, after silently watching the sparks awhile, 'as I get older, and nearer growing up, I often sit wondering here, and think how unfortunate it is for me that I can't reconcile you to home better than I am able to do. I don't know what other girls know. I can't play to you, or sing to you. I can't talk to you so as to enlighten your mind, for I never see any amusing sights or read any amusing books that it would be a pleasure or a relief to you to talk about, when you are tired.'

'Well, no more do I. I am as bad as you in that respect; and I am a Mule too, which you're not. If father was determined to make me either a Prig or a Mule, and I am not a Prig, why, it stands to reason, I must be a Mule. And so I am,' said Tom, desperately.

'It's a great pity,' said Louisa after another pause, and speaking thoughtfully out of her dark corner! 'it's a great pity, Tom. It's very unfortuante for both of us.'

'Oh! You,' said Tom; 'you are a girl, Loo, and a girl comes out of it better than a boy does. I don't miss anything in you. You are the only pleasure I have - you can brighten even this place - and you can always lead me as you like.'

'You are a dear brother, Tom; and while you think I can do such things, I don't so much mind knowing better. Though I do know better, Tom, and am very sorry for it.' She came and kissed him and went back into her corner again.

'I wish I could collect all the Facts we hear so much about,' said Tom, spitefully setting his teeth, 'and all the Figures, and all the people who found them out: and I wish I could put a thousand barrels of gunpowder under them, and blow them all up together! However, when I go to live with old Bounderby, I'll have my revenge.'

'Your revenge, Tom?'

'I mean, I'll enjoy myself a little, and go about and see something, and hear something. I'll recompense myself for the way in which I have been brought up.'

'But don't disappoint yourself beforehand, Tom. Mr Bounderby thinks as father thinks, and is a great deal rougher, and not half so kind.'

'Oh;' said Tom, laughing; 'I don't mind that. I shall very well know how to manage and smooth old Bounderby!'

Their shadows were defined upon the wall, but those of the high presses in the room were all blended together on the wall and on the ceiling, as if the brother and sister were overhung by a dark cavern. Or, a fanciful imagination - if such treason could have been there - might have made it out to be the shadow of their subject, and of its lowering association with their future.

'What is your great method of smoothing and managing, Tom? Is it a secret?'

'Oh!' said Tom, 'if it is a secret, it's not far off. It's you. You are his little pet, you are his favourite; he'll do anything for you. When he says to me what I don't like, I shall say to him, "My sister Loo will be hurt and disappointed, Mt Bounderby She always used to tell me she was sure you would be easier with me than this." That'll bring him about, or nothing will.'

After waiting for some answering remark, and getting none, Tom wearily relapsed into the present time, and twined himself yawning round and round about the rails of his chair, and rumpled his head more and more, until he suddenly looked up, and asked: 'Have you gone to sleep, Loo?'

'No, Tom. I am looking at the fire.'

'You seem to find more to look at in it than ever I could find,' said Tom. 'Another of the advantages, I suppose, of being a girl.'

'Tom,' inquired his sister, slowly, and in a curious tone, as if she were reading what she asked in the fire, and it were not quite plainly written there, 'do you look forward with any satisfaction to this change to Mr Bounderby's?'

'Why, there's one thing to be said of it,' returned Tom, pushing his chair from him, and standing up; 'it will be getting away from home.'

'There is one thing to be said of it,' Louisa repeated in her former curious tone; 'it will be getting away from home. Yes.'

'Not but what I shall be very unwilling, both to leave you, Loo, and to leave you here. But I must go, you know, whether I like it or not; but I had better go where I can take with me some advantage of your influence, than where I should lose it altogether. Don't you see?'

'Yes, Tom.' The answer was so long in coming, though there was no indecision in it, that Tom went and leaned on the back of her chair, to contemplate the fire which so engrossed her, from her point of view, and see what he could make of it.

'Except that it is a fire,' said Tom, 'it looks to me as stupid and blank as everything else looks. What do you see in it? Not a circus?'

'I don't see anything in it, Tom, particularly. But since I have been looking at it, I have been wondering about you and me, grown up.'

'Wondering again!' said Tom.

'I have such unmanageable thoughts,' returned his sister, that they will wonder.’

'Then I beg of you, Louisa,' said Mrs Gradgrind, who had opened the door without being heard, 'to do nothing of that description, for goodness’ sake, you inconsiderate girl, or I shall never hear the last of it from your fther. And Thoas, it is really shameful, with my poor head continually wearing me out, that a boy brought up as you have been, and whose education has cost what yours has, should be found encouraging his sister to wonder, when he knows his father has expressly said that she is not to do it.'

Louisa denied Tom’s participation in the offence; but her mother stopped her with the conclusive answer, 'Louisa, don’t tell me, in my state of health; for unless you have been encouraged, it is morally and physically impossible that you could have done it.'

‘I was encouraged by nothing, mother, but by looking at the red sparks dropping out of the fire, and whitening and dying. It made me think, after all, how short my life would be, and how little I could hope to do in it.’

‘Nonsense!’ said Mrs Gradgrind, rendered almost energetic. ‘Nonesense! Don’t stand there and tell me such stuff, Louisa, to my face, when you know very well that if it was to ever reach your father’s ears I should never hear the last of it. After all the trouble that has been taken with you! After the lectures you have attended, and the experiments you have seen! After I have heard you myself, when the whole of my right side has been benumbed, going on with your master about combustion, and calcination, and calorification, and I may say every kind of ation that could drive a poor invalid distracted, to hear you talking in this absurd way about sparks and ashes! I wish,’ whimpered Mrs Gradgrind, taking a chair, and discharging her strongest point before succumbing under these mere shadows of facts, ‘yes I really do wish that I had never had a family, and then you woul have known what it was to do without me!’

~

Here Tom came lounging in, and stared at the two with a coolness not particularly savouring of interest in anything but himself, and not much of that at present.

'I am asking Sissy a few questions, Tom,' observed his sister. 'You have no occasion to go away; but don’t interrupt us for a moment, Tom dear.'

'Oh! Very well!' returned Tom. 'Only father has brought old Bounderby home, and I want you to come into the drawing-room. Because if you come, there’s a good chance of old Bounderby’s asking me to dinner; and if you don’t, there’s none.'

'I’ll come directly.'

'I’ll wait for you,' said Tom, 'to make sure.'



'I say! Look sharp for old Bounderby, Loo!' Tom remonstrated.



'Do look sharp for old Bounderby, Loo!' said Tom, with an impatient whistle. 'He’ll be off if you don’t look sharp!'

~

Yet it did seem … as if fantastic hope could take as strong a hold as Fact.

This observation must be limited exclusively to his daughter. As to Tom, he was becoming that not unprecedented triumph of calculation which is usually at work on number one.

~

(Louisa & Tom grow up; Tom is sent to Bounderby’s and is 'exercised diligently in his calculations to number one')

'Are you there, Loo?' said her brother, looking in at the door. He was quite a young gentleman of pleasure now, and not quite a prepossessing one.

'Dear Tom,' she answered, rising and embracing him, 'how long it is since you have been to see me!'
abandoned children, adopted siblings, adopted sisters, ambivalent endings, awesome ladies, bank robbers, bank-robbing, being each other's world, being forced together, being lonely, being the worst person, being-each-other's-only-good-thing, bounderby/louisa, brother-sister relationships, cecilia jupe, charles dickens, comfort, crime, criminals, dysfunctional families, emotional breakdowns, epic-romances-that-never-were, estranged siblings, extra-marital affairs, family, father issues, fragile people, fragile women, hard times, household words, i wouldn't hurt you, i-hate-everybody-except-you, inability to love, indoctrination, james/louisa, james/tom, jolly old jaundiced jail, loo, loo bounderby, loo gradgrind, louisa bounderby, louisa gradgrind, louisa&sissy&tom, louisa&tom, louisa/sissy, manipulation, manipulative relationships, marriages of convenience, mental illness, misogyny, nervous breakdowns, nicknames, non-canon relationships, overly-close siblings, running-away-to-join-the-circus, sam/dean-esque relationships, sapphic love, saving people, sibling relationships, sissy jupe, sissy saving tom, sissy/james, sissy/louisa, sissy/rachael, sissy/tom, sociopaths, standing up to james, stephen/louisa, stephen/sissy, the circus, thomas gradgrind, tom calling louisa 'loo', tom gradgrind, tom&louisa, tom/sissy, tragic childhoods, treating classics like fandom, victorian society, warping classics, you don't hate sissy

Statistics