Hard Times

Book 2 - Chapter 10

I'm having trouble with a sentence in the second paragraph when Bounderby is justifying to himself why he should let his former housekeeper come to spend more time at his house. He says, "... and further that Louisa would have objected to her as a frequent visitor if it had comported with his greatness that she should object to anything that he chose to do". I understand the words, I think - comport with, meaning to agree/comply with, but I don't really know what he's getting at. Is Bounderby thinking that his wife would refuse just to spite him, just to be contrary? Or that she wouldn't dare oppose his wishes? I'm assume "it" is the impersonal "it", and not referring to anything specific. I've looked at the German and French translations and they appear to be saying contradictory things. Could someone break down this sentence to clarify it for me?

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From the text, we can infer that Bounderby is certain that his wife would not dare to oppose his wishes.


Hard Times

Dear Jill D,

Thank you so much for your kind reply. That's indeed what makes most sense, but it's good to have one's ideas confirmed. I'm making a return to 19th century literature after spending many years reading much later works and contemporary literature. It's a wonderful experience, though sometimes a little frustrating because of the sometimes convoluted expressions!