Hard Times

Hard Times.—A novel by Dickens. Bounderby, a street Arab, raised himself to banker and cotton prince. When past fifty years of age he married Louisa, daughter of Thomas Gradgrind. The bank was robbed, and Bounderby believed Stephen Blackpool to be the thief, because he had dismissed him from his employ. The culprit was Tom Gradgrind, the banker's brother-in-law, who escaped out of the country. In the dramatized version, the bank was not robbed, but Tom removed the money to another drawer for safety.

Hard Times

Listen awhile and give ear to my song
Concerning these hard times, 'twill not take you long,
How every one tries each other to bite,
And in cheating each other they think they do right.
Nothing but hard times.

There are some young men, which you very well know,
To see pretty girls they are sure to go;
The old folks will giggle, they will laugh, and they'll grin,
Crying, “Use him well, Sal, or he'll not come again.”

The baker will cheat you in the bread that you eat,
And so will the butcher, in the weight of his meat;
He'll tip up the steelyards, and make them go down,
And swears it is weight, when it lacks a half pound.

The next are the ladies, the sweet little dears,
At the balls and the parties, how nice they appear;
With whalebones and corsets themselves they will squeeze,
You have to unlace them before they can sneeze.

Next is the tinker, he'll mend all your ware,
For little or nothing, some ale or some beer;
But before he begins, he'll get half drunk or more,
And in stopping one hole, why he'll punch twenty more.

The judge on his bench, so honest and true,
He'll stare at a man, as though he'd look him through;
He'll send him a year or six months to the jail,
And for five dollars more, why he'll go your bail.

Then next is the doctor, he'll cure all your ills,
With his puffs and his powders, his syrups, and squills,
He'll give you a dose that will make you grow fat,
Or some pills that will leave you but your boots and your hat.

The ladies must all have their silks and their laces,
And things they call bonnets, to show off their faces;
But their figure, however, can never be seen,
For they are hoop'd like a barrel, with French crinoline.

The last is the sheriff, who thinks himself wise,
He'll come to your house with a big pack of lies;
He'll take all your property that he can sell,
And get drunk on the money, that's doing right well,
In these hard times.