Feet Attitudes (continued)

In the following selection, Mr. Gradgrind speaks the first paragraph, then the author explains to us (in the three following paragraphs) what sort of man Mr. Gradgrind is. 1. After studying the selection, mark in the margin, the Feet Attitudes. 2. In each case give reasons why you think the speaker should be in the attitude named. 3. What is the usual feet attitude in Gradgrind? Of the government officer? Of Sissy Jupe?


“Now what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own chil– dren, and this is the principle on which I Dring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir! In this life we want nothing but Facts, sir; nothing but Facts!” The speaker and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person present, all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim. Thomas Gradgrind, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the prin– ciple that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir, with a rule and pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithnetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Grad– grind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind, but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind—no, sir! Indeed, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts. “Girl number twenty,” said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger. “I don't know that girl. Who is that girl?” “Sissy Jupe, sir,” explained number twenty, blushing, standing up, and courtesying. “Sissy is not a name,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “Don’t call yourself Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia.” “Father calls me Sissy, sir,” returned the young girl in a trembling voice, and with another courtesy. “Then he has no business to do it,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “Tell him he mustn't. Cecilia Jupe. Let me see. What is your father?” “He belongs to the horse-riding," if you please, sir." Mr. Gradgrind frowned, and waved off the objectionable calling with his hand. We don't want to know anything about that, here. You mustn't tell us about that here. Your father breaks horses, don't he?”, “If you please, sir, when they can get any to break, they do break horses in the ring, sir.” “You mustn't tell us about the ring here. Very well, then. He doctors sick horses, I dare Say.” “O yes, sir!” “Very well, then. He is a veterinary surgeon, a farrier, and horse-breaker. Give me your definition of a horse.” Sissy Jupe was thrown into the greatest alarm by this demand. “Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!” said Mr. Gradgrind. “Girl number twenty possessed of no facts, in reference to One of the commonest of animals! Some boy's definition of a horse.—Bitzer, yours.” “Quadruped. Graminiverous. Forty teeth, namely, twenty-four grinders, four eye teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs too. Hoofs hard but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in the mouth.” “Now, girl number twenty,” said Mr. Gradgrind, “you know what a horse is.” The third gentleman now stepped forth. A mighty man at cutting and drying, he was; a government officer; always in training, always with a system to force down the general throat. “Very well,” said the gentleman briskly. “That's a horse. Now, set me ask you, girls and boys, Would you paper a room with representations of horses?” After a pause, one-half of the children cried in chorus, “Yes, sir!” upon which the other half, seeing in the gentleman's face that “yes” was wrong, cried out in a chorus. “No, sir!”—as the custom is in these examinations. “Of course not. Why wouldn't you?” A pause. One corpulent, slow boy, with a wheezy manner of breathing, ventured to answer, “Because I wouldn't paper a room at all, I'd paint it.” “You must paper it,” said the gentleman, rather warmly. “Yes, you must paper it,” said Thomas Gradgrind, “whether you like it or not. Don't tell us you wouldn't paper it. What do you mean, boy?" “I’ll explain to you then,” said the gentleman, after a dismal pause, “why you wouldn't paper a room with representations of horses. Do you ever see horses walking up and down the sides of rooms in reality, in fact? Do you?” “Yes sir,” from one-half. “No, sir,” from the other. “Of course not,” said the gentleman, with an indignant look at the wrong half. “Why, then, you are not to See anywhere what you don't see in fact; you are not to have anywhere what you don't have in fact. What is called taste is only another name for fact. This is a new principle, a discovery, a great discovery,” said the gentleman. “Now I'll try you again. Suppose you were going to carpet a room, would you use a carpet having a representation of flowers upon it?” There being a general conviction by this time that “No, sir” was always the right answer to this gentleman, the chorus of “no” was very strong. Only a few feeble stragglers said “yes;” among them Sissy Jupe, “Girl number twenty,” said the gentleman, smiling in the calm strength of knowledge. Sissy blushed, and stood up. “So you would carpet your room with representations Of flowers, would you?” said the gentleman. “Why would Ou Q" h “If you please, sir, I am very fond of flowers,” returned the gi

*Her father Tides in the circus.

gll’l. “And is that why you would put tables and chairs upon |...}, and have people walking over them with heavy boots?” “It wouldn't hurt them sir. They wouldn't crush and wither, if you please, sir. They would be pictures of what was very pretty and pleasant, and I would fancy"— “Ay, ay, ay! but you musn't fancy,” cried the gentleman, quite elated by coming so happily to his point. “That's it, You are never to fancy.” “You are not, Cecilia Jupe,” Thomas Gradgrind solemnly repeated, “to do anything of that kind.” “You are to be in all things regulated and governed," said the gentleman, “by Fact. You must discard the word “fancy' altogether. You have nothing to do with it. You don't walk upon flowers in fact: you cannot be allowed to walk upon flowers in carpets. ... You never meet with quadrupeds going up and down the walls; you must not thave quadrupeds represented upon walls. You must use,” said the gentleman, “for all these purposes, combinations, and modifications (in primary colors) of mathematical figures which are susceptible of proof and demonstration. This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste.” —Charles Dickens.


Describe briefly but clearly exercises 25–27. Then lead the class in practising them, rapidly and correctly.


1. Make yourself see vividly each of these incidents, then mark in the margin of each five Feet Attitudes.

2. While one student is giving an incident let the rest of the class write a list of the Feet Attitudes he uses; later see if the observers agree as to what attitudes he actually used while telling it. (Do not discuss at this time whether his attitudes were right or wrong.)

In a town in the far West, a crowd of cowboys stood around a fenced enclosure, beside the railroad track. In this enclosure was confined a large bull. The Cowboys were amusing themselves by annoying in many ways the poor brute, who was fast becoming furious. Suddenly, one of their number, lightly vaulting the fence, landed squarely astride of the bull's neck, and grasped him by the horns. The infuriated animal plunged and snorted, but his rider, with wonderful agility, quickly leaped to the ground, and before the bull could turn and gore him, sprang over the fence again to be greeted by the applause of his comrades. Their attention was soon diverted, however, by the arrival of a passenger train which was just drawing up to the station across the street, and the cowboys, with shouts and laughter, ran across toward the platform. Meanwhile, the now maddened bull had succeeded in breaking through the fence, and with tossing head and long tail was trotting across the street, bellowing as he Went. Just then a young man, satchel in hand, came running down the street to catch the train, passing on his way some farmers who were standing some distance from the bull.... They shouted to the young man as he passed, “Hi, there! Stop! The bull! The bull!” but he kept on, with a wave of the hand, “All right! I'll look out for him.” The next instant the bull saw him, and with lowered horns, ran to head him off. But the young man was a fast runner. He passed just in front of the bull's head, which, the next instant, brought up with a thud against the side of the station. It was a very close shave. Dazed by the shock, the bull stood still for a moment, then turned just as two children, who had arrived on the train and had passed through the station, started to cross the street. When they turned the corner of the building,

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