Coketown was a town of red brick,or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and the ashes had allowed it;but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage.
It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys,out of which smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever.
It had a black canal in it,and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye,and vast piles of buildings full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long,and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down like the head of an elephant in a state of madness.
The town contained several large streets all very like one another,and many small streets still more like one another,inhabited by people equally like one another.
A sunny midsummer day.
There was such a thing sometimes, even in Coketown.
Seen from a distance in such weather,Coketown lay covered in a haze of its own.
You only knew the town was there,because you knew there could have been no such blotch upon the view without a town.
The streets were hot and dusty on the summer day,and the sun was so bright that it even shone through the haze over Coketown,and could not be looked at steadily.
Workers emerged from low underground doorways into factory yards,and sat on posts and steps,wiping their faces and contemplating coals.
The whole town seemed to be frying in oil.
There was a stifling smell of hot oil everywhere.
The atmosphere of those places was like the breath of hell,and their inhabitants wasting with heat,toiled languidly in the desert.
But no temperature made the mad elephants more mad or more sane.
Their wearisome heads went up and down at the same rate,in hot weather and in cold,wet weather and dry,fair weather and foul.
The measured motion of their shadows on the walls,was the substitute Coketown had to show for the shadows of rustling woods;while for the summer hum of insects,it could offer all the year round,from the dawn of Monday to the night of Saturday,the whirr of shafts and wheels.