Mr. Bounderby behaves up to the high standards of his jocular colleagues such as Uncle Pumblechook(Great Expectations) and Mr. Bumble(Oliver Twist), and it is, according to my own taste, the best of all the jolly company one finds in Hard Times. His recurrent boastfulness provoked much laughter in me, and I ended up favouring him among all the others.
The Born lady, commonly known as Mrs Sparsit, also deserves her part of acknowledgement here, for she's such a fine lady one can hardly miss an occasion to pay his respects to such a high-breeding character.
As a sidenote on the ending, I didn't quite like it, for as was in his other early works(Oliver Twist), bad characters get busted and good ones are rewarded(although not so much in this novel, the moralizing ending is still there). At least he gets honest and concludes with:
These things were to be.
Dear reader! It rests with you and me, whether, in our two fields
of action, similar things shall be or not. Let them be! We shall
sit with lighter bosoms on the hearth, to see the ashes of our
fires turn gray and cold.
As to say, let's have a nice happy ending so you sleep better and I get more readers.
'Do it at once,' said Bounderby, 'has always been my motto from a
child. When I thought I would run away from my egg-box and my
grandmother, I did it at once. Do you the same. Do this at once!'
'Are you walking?' asked his friend. 'I have the father's address.
Perhaps you would not mind walking to town with me?'
'Not the least in the world,' said Mr. Bounderby, 'as long as you
do it at once!'