about it. I can only suppose that the circumstances of your early life were too unfavourable to the development of your reasoning powers, and that we began too late. Still, as I have said already, I am disappointed.’
‘I wish I could have made a better acknowledgment, sir, of your kindness to a poor forlorn girl who had no claim upon you, and of your protection of her.’
‘Don’t shed tears,’ said Mr. Gradgrind. ‘Don’t shed tears. I don’t complain of you. You are an affectionate, earnest, good young woman — and — and we must make that do.’
‘Thank you, sir, very much,’ said Sissy, with a grateful curtsey.