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A STEP BEYOND

GLOSSARY

ADAM SMITH

One of Thomas Gradgrind's younger sons, named after the British economist whose doctrine of laissez-faire Dickens felt resulted in many of the abuses of the Industrial Revolution.

ALDERNY

A breed of dairy cattle.

BEADLE

In the Anglican church, a parish official who keeps order during the services, waits on the clergyman, etc.

BLUEBEARD

A fictional character known for having several wives, all of whom he murdered.

BRUTUS

A Roman politician; one of the men who assassinated Julius Caesar.

CARTER

A country bumpkin; Tom Gradgrind's disguise when he attempts to flee the country.


CENTAUR

A mythical beast with the head, trunk, and arms of a man and the body and legs of a horse.

CHANDLER

Someone who sells trinkets door-to-door; also, one who makes candles.

COCKER, EDWIN

Famous British mathematician whose accuracy was so respected that the phrase "according to Cocker" came to mean "according to fact."

DOCTORS COMMONS

The law courts that specialized in divorce cases in nineteenth- century England.

EQUESTRIAN

Pertaining to horses or horsemanship.

FAIRY PALACES

Dickens's ironic name for the Coketown factories, given because they resemble glittering palaces when seen from a speeding train.

GAMING

Gambling.

GORGON

A hideous woman. In Greek mythology, a Gorgon was a woman with serpents growing from her head.

GRACES

Three goddesses associated with the enjoyment of life.

"HANDS"

Collective name for Coketown factory employees.

HEY-GO-MAD

Very excited.

HORSE-RIDING

A traveling circus specializing in horse acts.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

The lower house of British Parliament, whose representatives are elected.

HOUSE OF LORDS

The upper, nonelective House of Parliament.

LIGHT PORTER

Messenger; Bitzer's job at Bounderby's bank.

LORD CHESTERFIELD

Philip Dormer Stanhope, the fourth earl of Chesterfield (1694- 1773); famous for his letters to his son, which are full of advice about education, breeding, and morals.

LORD HARRY

The devil.

MALTHUS

British mathematician whose theories on population Dickens found objectionable and dangerous; also, the name given to one of Gradgrind's younger sons.

MERRYLEGS

Mr. Jupe's dog, seen as a symbol of eternal loyalty.

MISANTHROPE

A person who hates mankind.

MORGIANA

Ali Baba's servant in the Arabian Nights tales; her techniques are compared to those of M'Choakumchild.

MORRIS

To run away.

OGRE

A monster in fairy tales and fables, usually represented as a hideous giant.

OLD HELL SHAFT

The name of the abandoned mine shaft into which Stephen Blackpool falls.

PARLIAMENTARY

A train that provided the cheapest way of travel; the means Mrs. Pegler uses to get from her home to Coketown.

PEGASUS

A mythical flying horse.

PHYSIC

A medicine that purges; a laxative.

PLAY OLD GOOSEBERRY

To play havoc; said of Mrs. Blackpool.

PORTICO

A structure consisting of a roof supported by columns, usually attached to a building as a porch.

POSTILION

A person who rides the horse on the left of the leading pair when four or more horses are used to draw a carriage.

PROFESSOR OWEN

Sir Richard Owen, a well-known expert on comparative anatomy.

PUBLIC HOUSE

A tavern with rooms for renting.

PUGILIST

A person who fights with his fists, usually professionally.

ROBINSON CRUSOE

Hero of Daniel Defoe's famous novel, written in 1719; tells of a shipwrecked man who creates his own civilization on a deserted island.

SENT TO COVENTRY

Shunned, rejected; said of Stephen Blackpool when he refuses to join the union.

SLOUGH OF DESPOND

An allegorical state of deep despair, from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678).

SPARTAN

Of or pertaining to the people of Sparta, a city of ancient Greece; Spartans were known for their discipline and bravery in the face of danger.

STONE LODGE

The Gradgrind family home.

STROLLER

An itinerant performer.

SWEETBREADS

The pancreas of a calf or lamb, considered a delicacy to eat.

TOWER OF BABEL

A tower erected in the ancient city of Babel whose purpose was to reach God; the result was a confusion of languages.

VENUS

Roman goddess of love and beauty.

VIANDS

An article of food, usually one considered a delicacy.

VICTUALS

Food supplies; provisions.

WHELP

The offspring of an animal; Dickens's term for Tom Gradgrind, Jr.

WINDLASS

A device used for hoisting; usually having a horizontal dram on which a rope attached to the load is wound.

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