bounderby and gradgrind meet childers and kidderminster and eventually the master of the circus, sleary himself. fact, in the persons of bounderby and gradgrind, we have met before. now we meet fancy in the circus people.
as we have seen, a little parallelism goes a long way; here it is in another form: ‘all the fathers … ride upon anything, jump over everything, and stick at nothing.’
however, ‘there was a remarkable gentleness and childishness about these people, a special inaptitude for any kind of sharp practice, and an untiring readiness to help and pity one another, deserving often of as much respect, and always of as much generous construction, as the every-day virtues of any class of people in the world.’
fancy meets fact head on: ‘They cared so little for plain Fact, these people, and were in that advanced state of degeneracy on the subject, that instead of being impressed by the speaker’s strong common sense, they took it in extraordinary dudgeon. The men muttered “Shame!” and the women “Brute!” and Sleary, in some haste, communicated the following hint, apart to Mr. Bounderby. “I tell you what, Thquire. To thpeak plain to you, my opinion ith that you had better cut it thort, and drop it. They’re a very good natur’d people, my people, but they’re accuthtomed to be quick in their movementh.” ‘
fanciful as they are, they are nevertheless guided by ideals, and sleary is their able (though lisping) philosopher.
the sleary philosophy
‘ “People mutht be amuthed, Thquire, thomehow…. They can’t be alwayth a working, nor yet they can’t be alwayth a learning. Make the betht of uth; not the wurtht. I’ve got my living out of the horthe-riding all my life, I know; but I conthider that I lay down the philothophy of the thubject when I thay to you, Thquire, make the betht of uth: not the wurtht!” ‘