|(quoted from Hard Times)|
'Yes, Miss Louisa, I know it was, now. Then Mr. M'Choakumchild
said he would try me again. And he said, This schoolroom is an
immense town, and in it there are a million of inhabitants, and
only five-and-twenty are starved to death in the streets, in the
course of a year. What is your remark on that proportion? And my
remark was - for I couldn't think of a better one - that I thought
it must be just as hard upon those who were starved, whether the
others were a million, or a million million. And that was wrong,
'Of course it was.'
'Then Mr. M'Choakumchild said he would try me once more. And he
said, Here are the stutterings - '
'Statistics,' said Louisa.
'Yes, Miss Louisa - they always remind me of stutterings, and
that's another of my mistakes - of accidents upon the sea. And I
find (Mr. M'Choakumchild said) that in a given time a hundred
thousand persons went to sea on long voyages, and only five hundred
of them were drowned or burnt to death. What is the percentage?
And I said, Miss;' here Sissy fairly sobbed as confessing with
extreme contrition to her greatest error; 'I said it was nothing.'
'Nothing, Miss - to the relations and friends of the people who
were killed. I shall never learn,' said Sissy. 'And the worst of
all is, that although my poor father wished me so much to learn,
and although I am so anxious to learn, because he wished me to, I
am afraid I don't like it.'