Hard Times Book 1 Chapter 15 Page 14

‘It is short, no doubt, my dear. Still, the average duration of human life is proved to have increased of late years. The calculations of various life assurance and annuity offices, among other figures which cannot go wrong, have established the fact.’

‘I speak of my own life, father.’

‘O indeed? Still,’ said Mr. Gradgrind, ‘I need not point out to you, Louisa, that it is governed by the laws which govern lives in the aggregate.’

‘While it lasts, I would wish to do the little I can, and the little I am fit for. What does it matter?’

Mr. Gradgrind seemed rather at a loss to understand the last four words; replying, ‘How, matter? What matter, my dear?’