Pitch

hard-timesTom angers Harthouse: ‘There was a piece of ornamental water immediately below the parapet, on the other side, into which Mr. James Harthouse had a very strong inclination to pitch Mr. Thomas Gradgrind junior.’ But he doesn’t.

Tom says, ‘You’re a true friend.’

‘A true friend! Whelp, whelp! What an Ass you are!’ Harthouse wants to say, but he doesn’t. He only thinks it.

Of course, ‘pitch’ can be a good thing, can’t it?

Here is an example of long-winded hyperbole. How would you have pitched it? Louisa begs her brother to tell her his deepest, darkest secret. But is she brief? No!

‘You may be certain;’ in the energy of her love she took him to her bosom as if he were a child; ‘that I will not reproach you.  You may be certain that I will be compassionate and true to you.  You may be certain that I will save you at whatever cost.  O Tom, have you nothing to tell me?  Whisper very softly.  Say only “yes,” and I shall understand you!’

Dickens, and it seems all nineteenth century writers, used words excessively. Was it the writer in them or did people really talk like that? If they did talk like that, I would have been tempted like Harthouse to pitch the pitcher into the drink.

The problem with using a lot of words in speech is that, like this character who took ‘so long to get through, and his mind wandered so much in the course of its execution’, I lose track of what was being said, or even who was saying them. In fact, who is Sparsit with? Oh. Him.

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