Hard Times Book 2 Chapter 1 Page 27

Here the visitor, all unconscious of Mrs. Sparsit’s magnanimous words, repeated his knock so loudly that the light porter hastened down to open the door; while Mrs. Sparsit took the precaution of concealing her little table, with all its appliances upon it, in a cupboard, and then decamped up-stairs, that she might appear, if needful, with the greater dignity.

‘If you please, ma’am, the gentleman would wish to see you,’ said Bitzer, with his light eye at Mrs. Sparsit’s keyhole. So, Mrs. Sparsit, who had improved the interval by touching up her cap, took her classical features down-stairs again, and entered the board-room in the manner of a Roman matron going outside the city walls to treat with an invading general.

The visitor