Hard Times

Hard Times

An old widow with a Roman nose and a classical countenance, Mrs. Sparsit keeps Mr. Bounderby company before he is married. Jealous at being driven out by Louisa, she watches with glee as the inappropriate friendship between Louisa and James Harthouse progresses. However, just at the moment of her greatest triumph (when she thinks that Louisa has ruined herself by running off with Mr. Harthouse), Mrs. Sparsit is foiled when Louisa turns to her father instead of eloping. She furthermore earns Mr. Bounderby's unceasing enmity when she accidentally reveals Mr. Bounderby's mother to be alive, well, and a very good mother and that he had not, therefore, built himself up from poverty.

Mrs. Sparsit Quotes in Hard Times

The Hard Times quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Sparsit or refer to Mrs. Sparsit. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Hard Times published in 2001.
Book 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

‘You are quite another father to Louisa, sir.' Mrs Sparsit took a little more tea; and, as she bent her again contracted eyebrows over her steaming cup, rather looked as if her classical countenance were invoking the infernal gods.

Related Characters: Mrs. Sparsit (speaker), Louisa Gradgrind, Josiah Bounderby
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Book 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

‘An individual, ma'am,' said Bitzer, ‘has never been what he ought to have been, since he first came into the place. He is a dissipated, extravagant idler. He is not worth his salt, ma'am. He wouldn't get it either, if he hadn't a friend and relation at court, ma'am!'

Related Characters: Bitzer (speaker), Thomas Gradgrind, Jr. (Tom), Mrs. Sparsit
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deser

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

But from this day, the Sparsit action upon Mr Bounderby threw Louisa and James Harthouse more together, and strengthened the dangerous alienation from her husband and confidence against him with another, into which she had fallen by degrees so fine that she could not retrace them if she tried.

Related Characters: Louisa Gradgrind, Josiah Bounderby, Mrs. Sparsit, James Harthouse
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehen

Book 2, Chapter 11 Quotes

Wet through and through: with her feet squelching and squashing in her shoes whenever she moved; with a rash of rain upon her classical visage; with a bonnet like an over-ripe fig; with all her clothes spoiled; with damp impressions of every button, string, and hook-and-eye she wore, printed off upon her highly connected back; with stagnant verdure on her general exterior, such as accumulates on an old park fence in a mouldy lane; Mrs Sparsit had no resource but to burst into tears of bitterness and say, ‘I have lost her!'

Related Characters: Mrs. Sparsit
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Mrs. Sparsit Character Timeline in Hard Times

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Sparsit appears in Hard Times. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 7
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...to his own home, where he lives with a previously well-connected and elderly widow named Mrs. Sparsit . As the two breakfast, Bounderby expresses his disapproval of Louisa associating with the likes... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 11
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
...the factory owner, Mr. Bounderby. Bounderby is home, eating a rich lunch and accompanied by Mrs. Sparsit . (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
...and that the sanctity of marriage must be preserved. As Stephen unhappily protests, he scandalizes Mrs. Sparsit . Bounderby refuses to give Stephen any help in what he describes as Stephen's unlawful... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 16
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Back at Mr. Bounderby's house, Bounderby is rather nervous as to how Mrs. Sparsit will take the news of his engagement (knowing she has never reacted favorably in the... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 1
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
On a sunny day in Coketown, Mrs. Sparsit sits in her new living quarters attached to the Bank of Bounderby's factory, and chats... (full context)
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...door to admit a languid, well-dressed young gentleman who is trying to find Mr. Bounderby. Mrs. Sparsit is impressed by the man's manners and his flattery, and upon questioning, disdainfully reveals that... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...only one she loves. Tom, for his part, behaves slovenly and disrespectfully at dinner, proving Mrs. Sparsit 's and Bitzer's gossip right. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
...it had been all of his holdings. As they talk, the two men meet Louisa, Mrs. Sparsit , and Bitzer on the path. Harthouse and Louisa both instantly suspect Tom, though neither... (full context)
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mrs. Sparsit claims that her nerves have been shocked by this event, and moves temporarily back in... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 9
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mrs. Sparsit stretches the few days she was supposed to spend in Bounderby's house quite a while... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 10
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mrs. Sparsit continues to show excessive pity to Mr. Bounderby when he is present, and excessive contempt... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 11
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mr. Bounderby informs Mrs. Sparsit that he will have to be away from home for three to four days on... (full context)
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
...leave her; but he refuses. Finally, Louisa agrees to meet him elsewhere later that night—but Mrs. Sparsit can't quite hear the location because it has begun to rain heavily. She has also... (full context)
Femininity Theme Icon
...to the house, only to set out again after a short time for the railroad. Mrs. Sparsit follows her and, guessing her destination to be Coketown, discretely boards the train after her.... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 12
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mrs. Sparsit was wrong: Louisa has not gone to Coketown to meet Mr. Harthouse, but rather to... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 3
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
After losing track of Louisa the night before, Mrs. Sparsit , filthy wet clothes and all, rushes to London, finds Mr. Bounderby, and tells him... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 4
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Meanwhile, the robber of Bounderby's bank has not been found. Due to Mrs. Sparsit 's and Bitzer's testimony, Stephen is the main suspect and his picture is put up... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 5
Femininity Theme Icon
...walk around the town, and as they pass Mr. Bounderby's house, they see an excited Mrs. Sparsit pull up in a coach, accompanied by a distraught Mrs. Pegler. Mrs. Sparsit drags the... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
But Mrs. Sparsit and the gathered crowd are all excited when Mr. Bounderby reluctantly reveals that this lady... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 9
Industrialism and Its Evils Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Back at Mr. Bounderby's home, things have come to a head between him and Mrs. Sparsit . Over lunch, they insult each other while managing to remain "dignified," but grow increasingly... (full context)
Fact vs. Fancy Theme Icon
Unhappy Marriages Theme Icon
Femininity Theme Icon
Mrs. Sparsit spends the rest of her days taking care of a miserly old lady. Mr. Bounderby... (full context)