Surely there never was such a fragile china-ware as that of which the millers of Coketown were made. …

Surely there never was such a fragile china-ware as that of which the millers of Coketown were made. Handle them never so lightly, and they fell to pieces with such ease that you might suspect them of having been flawed before. They were ruined, when they were required to send labouring children to school; they were ruined, when inspectors were appointed to look into their works; they were ruined when such inspectors considered it doubtful whether they were quite justified in chopping people up with their machinery; they were utterly undone, when it was hinted that perhaps they need not always make quite so much smoke.
Whenever a Coketowner felt he was ill-used — that is to say, whenever he was not left entirely alone, and it was proposed to hold him accountable for the consequences of any of his acts — he was sure to come out with the awful menace, that he would `sooner pitch his property into the Atlantic’. This had terrified the Home Secretary within an inch of his life, on several occasions.

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