Part 1 out of 9
by Charles Dickens [The rest of Dickens is forthcoming]
Book the First--Recalled to Life
Chapter I The Period
Chapter II The Mail
Chapter III The Night Shadows
Chapter IV The Preparation
Chapter V The Wine-shop
Chapter VI The Shoemaker
Book the Second--the Golden Thread
Chapter I Five Years Later
Chapter II A Sight
Chapter III A Disappointment
Chapter IV Congratulatory
Chapter V The Jackal
Chapter VI Hundreds of People
Chapter VII Monseigneur in Town
Chapter VIII Monseigneur in the Country
Chapter IX The Gorgon's Head
Chapter X Two Promises
Chapter XI A Companion Picture
Chapter XII The Fellow of Delicacy
Chapter XIII The Fellow of no Delicacy
Chapter XIV The Honest Tradesman
Chapter XV Knitting
Chapter XVI Still Knitting
Chapter XVII One Night
Chapter XVIII Nine Days
Chapter XIX An Opinion
Chapter XX A Plea
Chapter XXI Echoing Footsteps
Chapter XXII The Sea still Rises
Chapter XXIII Fire Rises
Chapter XXIV Drawn to the Loadstone Rock
Book the Third--the Track of a Storm
Chapter I In Secret
Chapter II The Grindstone
Chapter III The Shadow
Chapter IV Calm in Storm
Chapter V The Wood-sawyer
Chapter VI Triumph
Chapter VII A Knock at the Door
Chapter VIII A Hand at Cards
Chapter IX The Game Made
Chapter X The Substance of the Shadow
Chapter XI Dusk
Chapter XII Darkness
Chapter XIII Fifty-two
Chapter XIV The Knitting Done
Chapter XV The Footsteps die out For ever
Book the First--Recalled to Life
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct
the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present
period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its
being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree
of comparison only.
There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face,
on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and
a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both
countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State
preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were
settled for ever.
It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and
seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at
that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently
attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a
prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime
appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the
swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane
ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping
out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past
(supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs.
Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to
the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects
in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important
to the human race than any communications yet received through
any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.
France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than
her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding
smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it.
Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained
herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing
a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with
pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled
down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks
which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or
sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of
France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer
was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come
down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework
with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely
enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy
lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather
that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed
about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death,
had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution.
But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly,
work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with
muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion
that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.
In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection
to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed
men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself
every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of
town without removing their furniture to upholsterers' warehouses
for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in
the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-
tradesman whom he stopped in his character of "the Captain,"
gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mall was
waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then
got shot dead himself by the other four, "in consequence of the
failure of his ammunition:" after which the mall was robbed in
peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was
made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman,
who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his
retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their
turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among
them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off
diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court
drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles's, to search for
contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the
musketeers fired on the mob, and nobody thought any of these
occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them,
the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in
constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous
criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been
taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by
the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall;
to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a
wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence.
All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in
and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred
and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the
Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those
other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough,
and carried their divine rights with a high hand. Thus did the
year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five conduct their
Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures--the creatures of this
chronicle among the rest--along the roads that lay before them.
It was the Dover road that lay, on a Friday night late in November,
before the first of the persons with whom this history has business.
The Dover road lay, as to him, beyond the Dover mail, as it
lumbered up Shooter's Hill. He walked up hill in the mire
by the side of the mail, as the rest of the passengers did;
not because they had the least relish for walking exercise, under the
circumstances, but because the hill, and the harness, and the mud,
and the mail, were all so heavy, that the horses had three times
already come to a stop, besides once drawing the coach across the road,
with the mutinous intent of taking it back to Blackheath. Reins and whip
and coachman and guard, however, in combination, had read that article
of war which forbade a purpose otherwise strongly in favour of the argument,
that some brute animals are endued with Reason; and the team had capitulated
and returned to their duty.
With drooping heads and tremulous tails, they mashed their way
through the thick mud, floundering and stumbling between whiles,
as if they were falling to pieces at the larger joints. As often
as the driver rested them and brought them to a stand, with a
wary "Wo-ho! so-ho- then!" the near leader violently shook his
head and everything upon it--like an unusually emphatic horse,
denying that the coach could be got up the hill. Whenever the
leader made this rattle, the passenger started, as a nervous
passenger might, and was disturbed in mind.
There was a steaming mist in all the hollows, and it had roamed
in its forlornness up the hill, like an evil spirit, seeking rest
and finding none. A clammy and intensely cold mist, it made its
slow way through the air in ripples that visibly followed and
overspread one another, as the waves of an unwholesome sea might
do. It was dense enough to shut out everything from the light of
the coach-lamps but these its own workings, and a few yards of
road; and the reek of the labouring horses steamed into it, as if
they had made it all.
Two other passengers, besides the one, were plodding up the hill
by the side of the mail. All three were wrapped to the cheekbones
and over the ears, and wore jack-boots. Not one of the three
could have said, from anything he saw, what either of the other
two was like; and each was hidden under almost as many wrappers
from the eyes of the mind, as from the eyes of the body, of his
two companions. In those days, travellers were very shy of being
confidential on a short notice, for anybody on the road might be
a robber or in league with robbers. As to the latter, when every
posting-house and ale-house could produce somebody in "the Captain's"
pay, ranging from the landlord to the lowest stable non-descript,
it was the likeliest thing upon the cards. So the guard of the
Dover mail thought to himself, that Friday night in November, one
thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, lumbering up Shooter's
Hill, as he stood on his own particular perch behind the mail,
beating his feet, and keeping an eye and a hand on the arm-chest
before him, where a loaded blunderbuss lay at the top of six or
eight loaded horse-pistols, deposited on a substratum of cutlass.
The Dover mail was in its usual genial position that the guard
suspected the passengers, the passengers suspected one another
and the guard, they all suspected everybody else, and the coachman
was sure of nothing but the horses; as to which cattle he could
with a clear conscience have taken his oath on the two Testaments
that they were not fit for the journey.
"Wo-ho!" said the coachman. "So, then! One more pull and you're
at the top and be damned to you, for I have had trouble enough to
get you to it!--Joe!"
"Halloa!" the guard replied.
"What o'clock do you make it, Joe?"
"Ten minutes, good, past eleven."
"My blood!" ejaculated the vexed coachman, "and not atop of
Shooter's yet! Tst! Yah! Get on with you!"
The emphatic horse, cut short by the whip in a most decided
negative, made a decided scramble for it, and the three other
horses followed suit. Once more, the Dover mail struggled on,
with the jack-boots of its passengers squashing along by its
side. They had stopped when the coach stopped, and they kept
close company with it. If any one of the three had had the
hardihood to propose to another to walk on a little ahead into
the mist and darkness, he would have put himself in a fair way
of getting shot instantly as a highwayman.
The last burst carried the mail to the summit of the hill.
The horses stopped to breathe again, and the guard got down to
skid the wheel for the descent, and open the coach-door to let
the passengers in.
"Tst! Joe!" cried the coachman in a warning voice, looking down
from his box.
"What do you say, Tom?"
They both listened.
"I say a horse at a canter coming up, Joe."
"_I_ say a horse at a gallop, Tom," returned the guard, leaving
his hold of the door, and mounting nimbly to his place.
"Gentlemen! In the kings name, all of you!"
With this hurried adjuration, he cocked his blunderbuss, and
stood on the offensive.
The passenger booked by this history, was on the coach-step,
getting in; the two other passengers were close behind him, and
about to follow. He remained on the step, half in the coach and
half out of; they re-mained in the road below him. They all
looked from the coachman to the guard, and from the guard to the
coachman, and listened. The coachman looked back and the guard
looked back, and even the emphatic leader pricked up his ears and
looked back, without contradicting.
The stillness consequent on the cessation of the rumbling and
labouring of the coach, added to the stillness of the night, made
it very quiet indeed. The panting of the horses communicated a
tremulous motion to the coach, as if it were in a state of
agitation. The hearts of the passengers beat loud enough perhaps
to be heard; but at any rate, the quiet pause was audibly
expressive of people out of breath, and holding the breath, and
having the pulses quickened by expectation.
The sound of a horse at a gallop came fast and furiously up the hill.
"So-ho!" the guard sang out, as loud as he could roar. "Yo there!
Stand! I shall fire!"
The pace was suddenly checked, and, with much splashing and floundering,
a man's voice called from the mist, "Is that the Dover mail?"
"Never you mind what it is!" the guard retorted. "What are you?"
"IS that the Dover mail?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"I want a passenger, if it is."
"Mr. Jarvis Lorry."
Our booked passenger showed in a moment that it was his name.
The guard, the coachman, and the two other passengers eyed him
"Keep where you are," the guard called to the voice in the mist,
"because, if I should make a mistake, it could never be set right
in your lifetime. Gentleman of the name of Lorry answer straight."
"What is the matter?" asked the passenger, then, with mildly
quavering speech. "Who wants me? Is it Jerry?"
("I don't like Jerry's voice, if it is Jerry," growled the guard
to himself. "He's hoarser than suits me, is Jerry.")
"Yes, Mr. Lorry."
"What is the matter?"
"A despatch sent after you from over yonder. T. and Co."
"I know this messenger, guard," said Mr. Lorry, getting down into
the road--assisted from behind more swiftly than politely by the
other two passengers, who immediately scrambled into the coach,
shut the door, and pulled up the window. "He may come close;
there's nothing wrong."
"I hope there ain't, but I can't make so 'Nation sure of that,"
said the guard, in gruff soliloquy. "Hallo you!"
"Well! And hallo you!" said Jerry, more hoarsely than before.
"Come on at a footpace! d'ye mind me? And if you've got holsters
to that saddle o' yourn, don't let me see your hand go nigh 'em.
For I'm a devil at a quick mistake, and when I make one it takes
the form of Lead. So now let's look at you."
The figures of a horse and rider came slowly through the eddying
mist, and came to the side of the mail, where the passenger stood.
The rider stooped, and, casting up his eyes at the guard, handed
the passenger a small folded paper. The rider's horse was blown,
and both horse and rider were covered with mud, from the hoofs of
the horse to the hat of the man.
"Guard!" said the passenger, in a tone of quiet business confidence.
The watchful guard, with his right hand at the stock of his raised
blunderbuss, his left at the barrel, and his eye on the horseman,
answered curtly, "Sir."
"There is nothing to apprehend. I belong to Tellson's Bank.
You must know Tellson's Bank in London. I am going to Paris
on business. A crown to drink. I may read this?"
"If so be as you're quick, sir."
He opened it in the light of the coach-lamp on that side,
and read--first to himself and then aloud: "`Wait at Dover for
Mam'selle.' It's not long, you see, guard. Jerry, say that my
answer was, RECALLED TO LIFE."
Jerry started in his saddle. "That's a Blazing strange answer, too,"
said he, at his hoarsest.
"Take that message back, and they will know that I received this,
as well as if I wrote. Make the best of your way. Good night."
With those words the passenger opened the coach-door and got in;
not at all assisted by his fellow-passengers, who had
expeditiously secreted their watches and purses in their boots,
and were now making a general pretence of being asleep. With no
more definite purpose than to escape the hazard of originating
any other kind of action.
The coach lumbered on again, with heavier wreaths of mist closing
round it as it began the descent. The guard soon replaced his
blunderbuss in his arm-chest, and, having looked to the rest of its
contents, and having looked to the supplementary pistols that he wore
in his belt, looked to a smaller chest beneath his seat, in which
there were a few smith's tools, a couple of torches, and a tinder-box.
For he was furnished with that completeness that if the coach-lamps
had been blown and stormed out, which did occasionally happen, he had
only to shut himself up inside, keep the flint and steel sparks well
off the straw, and get a light with tolerable safety and ease (if he
were lucky) in five minutes.
"Tom!" softly over the coach roof.
"Did you hear the message?"
"I did, Joe."
"What did you make of it, Tom?"
"Nothing at all, Joe."
"That's a coincidence, too," the guard mused, "for I made the
same of it myself."
Jerry, left alone in the mist and darkness, dismounted meanwhile,
not only to ease his spent horse, but to wipe the mud from his
face, and shake the wet out of his hat-brim, which might be
capable of holding about half a gallon. After standing with the
bridle over his heavily-splashed arm, until the wheels of the
mail were no longer within hearing and the night was quite still
again, he turned to walk down the hill.
"After that there gallop from Temple Bar, old lady, I won't trust
your fore-legs till I get you on the level," said this hoarse
messenger, glancing at his mare. "`Recalled to life.' That's a
Blazing strange message. Much of that wouldn't do for you, Jerry!
I say, Jerry! You'd be in a Blazing bad way, if recalling to life was
to come into fashion, Jerry!"
The Night Shadows
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is
constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that
every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret;
that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that
every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there,
is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!
Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to
this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved,
and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the
depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights
glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried treasure and other
things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with
a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was
appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when
the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the
shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour is dead, my love, the darling
of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and
perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality,
and which I shall carry in mine to my life's end. In any of the
burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper
more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost
personality, to me, or than I am to them?
As to this, his natural and not to be alienated inheritance,
the messenger on horseback had exactly the same possessions as
the King, the first Minister of State, or the richest merchant
in London. So with the three passengers shut up in the narrow
compass of one lumbering old mail coach; they were mysteries to
one another, as complete as if each had been in his own coach and
six, or his own coach and sixty, with the breadth of a county
between him and the next.
The messenger rode back at an easy trot, stopping pretty often at
ale-houses by the way to drink, but evincing a tendency to keep his
own counsel, and to keep his hat cocked over his eyes. He had eyes
that assorted very well with that decoration, being of a surface
black, with no depth in the colour or form, and much too near
together--as if they were afraid of being found out in something,
singly, if they kept too far apart. They had a sinister expression,
under an old cocked-hat like a three-cornered spittoon, and over a
great muffler for the chin and throat, which descended nearly to the
wearer's knees. When he stopped for drink, he moved this muffler
with his left hand, only while he poured his liquor in with his
right; as soon as that was done, he muffled again.
"No, Jerry, no!" said the messenger, harping on one theme as he rode.
"It wouldn't do for you, Jerry. Jerry, you honest tradesman, it
wouldn't suit YOUR line of business! Recalled--! Bust me if I
don't think he'd been a drinking!"
His message perplexed his mind to that degree that he was fain,
several times, to take off his hat to scratch his head. Except on
the crown, which was raggedly bald, he had stiff, black hair,
standing jaggedly all over it, and growing down hill almost to his
broad, blunt nose. It was so like Smith's work, so much more like
the top of a strongly spiked wall than a head of hair, that the best
of players at leap-frog might have declined him, as the most
dangerous man in the world to go over.
While he trotted back with the message he was to deliver to the night
watchman in his box at the door of Tellson's Bank, by Temple Bar, who
was to deliver it to greater authorities within, the shadows of the
night took such shapes to him as arose out of the message, and took
such shapes to the mare as arose out of HER private topics of
uneasiness. They seemed to be numerous, for she shied at every
shadow on the road.
What time, the mail-coach lumbered, jolted, rattled, and bumped upon
its tedious way, with its three fellow-inscrutables inside. To whom,
likewise, the shadows of the night revealed themselves, in the forms
their dozing eyes and wandering thoughts suggested.
Tellson's Bank had a run upon it in the mail. As the bank passenger--
with an arm drawn through the leathern strap, which did what lay in
it to keep him from pounding against the next passenger, and driving
him into his corner, whenever the coach got a special jolt--nodded in
his place, with half-shut eyes, the little coach-windows, and the
coach-lamp dimly gleaming through them, and the bulky bundle of
opposite passenger, became the bank, and did a great stroke of business.
The rattle of the harness was the chink of money, and more drafts
were honoured in five minutes than even Tellson's, with all its
foreign and home connection, ever paid in thrice the time. Then the
strong-rooms underground, at Tellson's, with such of their valuable
stores and secrets as were known to the passenger (and it was not a
little that he knew about them), opened before him, and he went in
among them with the great keys and the feebly-burning candle, and
found them safe, and strong, and sound, and still, just as he had
last seen them.
But, though the bank was almost always with him, and though the coach
(in a confused way, like the presence of pain under an opiate) was
always with him, there was another current of impression that never
ceased to run, all through the night. He was on his way to dig some
one out of a grave.
Now, which of the multitude of faces that showed themselves before
him was the true face of the buried person, the shadows of the night
did not indicate; but they were all the faces of a man of five-and-
forty by years, and they differed principally in the passions they
expressed, and in the ghastliness of their worn and wasted state.
Pride, contempt, defiance, stubbornness, submission, lamentation,
succeeded one another; so did varieties of sunken cheek, cadaverous
colour, emaciated hands and figures. But the face was in the main
one face, and every head was prematurely white. A hundred times the
dozing passenger inquired of this spectre:
"Buried how long?"
The answer was always the same: "Almost eighteen years."
"You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?"
"You know that you are recalled to life?"
"They tell me so."
"I hope you care to live?"
"I can't say."
"Shall I show her to you? Will you come and see her?"
The answers to this question were various and contradictory.
Sometimes the broken reply was, "Wait! It would kill me if I saw
her too soon." Sometimes, it was given in a tender rain of tears,
and then it was, "Take me to her." Sometimes it was staring and
bewildered, and then it was, "I don't know her. I don't understand."
After such imaginary discourse, the passenger in his fancy would dig,
and dig, dig--now with a spade, now with a great key, now with his
hands--to dig this wretched creature out. Got out at last, with
earth hanging about his face and hair, he would suddenly fan away to
dust. The passenger would then start to himself, and lower the
window, to get the reality of mist and rain on his cheek.
Yet even when his eyes were opened on the mist and rain, on the
moving patch of light from the lamps, and the hedge at the roadside
retreating by jerks, the night shadows outside the coach would fall
into the train of the night shadows within. The real Banking-house
by Temple Bar, the real business of the past day, the real strong
rooms, the real express sent after him, and the real message returned,
would all be there. Out of the midst of them, the ghostly face would
rise, and he would accost it again.
"Buried how long?"
"Almost eighteen years."
"I hope you care to live?"
"I can't say."
Dig--dig--dig--until an impatient movement from one of the two
passengers would admonish him to pull up the window, draw his arm
securely through the leathern strap, and speculate upon the two
slumbering forms, until his mind lost its hold of them, and they
again slid away into the bank and the grave.
"Buried how long?"
"Almost eighteen years."
"You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?"
The words were still in his hearing as just spoken--distinctly in his
hearing as ever spoken words had been in his life--when the weary
passenger started to the consciousness of daylight, and found that
the shadows of the night were gone.
He lowered the window, and looked out at the rising sun. There was a
ridge of ploughed land, with a plough upon it where it had been left
last night when the horses were unyoked; beyond, a quiet coppice-wood,
in which many leaves of burning red and golden yellow still remained
upon the trees. Though the earth was cold and wet, the sky was
clear, and the sun rose bright, placid, and beautiful.
"Eighteen years!" said the passenger, looking at the sun.
"Gracious Creator of day! To be buried alive for eighteen years!"
When the mail got successfully to Dover, in the course of the
forenoon, the head drawer at the Royal George Hotel opened the
coach-door as his custom was. He did it with some flourish of
ceremony, for a mail journey from London in winter was an achievement
to congratulate an adventurous traveller upon.
By that time, there was only one adventurous traveller left be
congratulated: for the two others had been set down at their
respective roadside destinations. The mildewy inside of the coach,
with its damp and dirty straw, its disageeable smell, and its
obscurity, was rather like a larger dog-kennel. Mr. Lorry, the
passenger, shaking himself out of it in chains of straw, a tangle of
shaggy wrapper, flapping hat, and muddy legs, was rather like a
larger sort of dog.
"There will be a packet to Calais, tomorrow, drawer?"
"Yes, sir, if the weather holds and the wind sets tolerable fair.
The tide will serve pretty nicely at about two in the afternoon,
sir. Bed, sir?"
"I shall not go to bed till night; but I want a bedroom, and a barber."
"And then breakfast, sir? Yes, sir. That way, sir, if you please.
Show Concord! Gentleman's valise and hot water to Concord. Pull off
gentleman's boots in Concord. (You will find a fine sea-coal fire,
sir.) Fetch barber to Concord. Stir about there, now, for Concord!"
The Concord bed-chamber being always assigned to a passenger by the
mail, and passengers by the mail being always heavily wrapped up from
head to foot, the room had the odd interest for the establishment of
the Royal George, that although but one kind of man was seen to go
into it, all kinds and varieties of men came out of it. Consequently,
another drawer, and two porters, and several maids and the landlady,
were all loitering by accident at various points of the road between
the Concord and the coffee-room, when a gentleman of sixty, formally
dressed in a brown suit of clothes, pretty well worn, but very well
kept, with large square cuffs and large flaps to the pockets, passed
along on his way to his breakfast.
The coffee-room had no other occupant, that forenoon, than the
gentleman in brown. His breakfast-table was drawn before the fire,
and as he sat, with its light shining on him, waiting for the meal,
he sat so still, that he might have been sitting for his portrait.
Very orderly and methodical he looked, with a hand on each knee, and
a loud watch ticking a sonorous sermon under his flapped waist-coat,
as though it pitted its gravity and longevity against the levity and
evanescence of the brisk fire. He had a good leg, and was a little
vain of it, for his brown stockings fitted sleek and close, and were
of a fine texture; his shoes and buckles, too, though plain, were
trim. He wore an odd little sleek crisp flaxen wig, setting very
close to his head: which wig, it is to be presumed, was made of hair,
but which looked far more as though it were spun from filaments of
silk or glass. His linen, though not of a fineness in accordance
with his stockings, was as white as the tops of the waves that broke
upon the neighbouring beach, or the specks of sail that glinted in
the sunlight far at sea. A face habitually suppressed and quieted,
was still lighted up under the quaint wig by a pair of moist bright
eyes that it must have cost their owner, in years gone by, some pains
to drill to the composed and reserved expression of Tellson's Bank.
He had a healthy colour in his cheeks, and his face, though lined,
bore few traces of anxiety. But, perhaps the confidential bachelor
clerks in Tellson's Bank were principally occupied with the cares of
other people; and perhaps second-hand cares, like second-hand
clothes, come easily off and on.
Completing his resemblance to a man who was sitting for his portrait,
Mr. Lorry dropped off to sleep. The arrival of his breakfast roused
him, and he said to the drawer, as he moved his chair to it:
"I wish accommodation prepared for a young lady who may come here at
any time to-day. She may ask for Mr. Jarvis Lorry, or she may only
ask for a gentleman from Tellson's Bank. Please to let me know."
"Yes, sir. Tellson's Bank in London, sir?"
"Yes, sir. We have oftentimes the honour to entertain your gentlemen
in their travelling backwards and forwards betwixt London and Paris,
sir. A vast deal of travelling, sir, in Tellson and Company's House."
"Yes. We are quite a French House, as well as an English one."
"Yes, sir. Not much in the habit of such travelling yourself,
I think, sir?"
"Not of late years. It is fifteen years since we--since I--
came last from France."
"Indeed, sir? That was before my time here, sir. Before our people's
time here, sir. The George was in other hands at that time, sir."
"I believe so."
"But I would hold a pretty wager, sir, that a House like Tellson and
Company was flourishing, a matter of fifty, not to speak of fifteen
"You might treble that, and say a hundred and fifty, yet not be far
from the truth."
Rounding his mouth and both his eyes, as he stepped backward from the
table, the waiter shifted his napkin from his right arm to his left,
dropped into a comfortable attitude, and stood surveying the guest
while he ate and drank, as from an observatory or watchtower.
According to the immemorial usage of waiters in all ages.
When Mr. Lorry had finished his breakfast, he went out for a stroll
on the beach. The little narrow, crooked town of Dover hid itself
away from the beach, and ran its head into the chalk cliffs, like a
marine ostrich. The beach was a desert of heaps of sea and stones
tumbling wildly about, and the sea did what it liked, and what it
liked was destruction. It thundered at the town, and thundered at
the cliffs, and brought the coast down, madly. The air among the
houses was of so strong a piscatory flavour that one might have
supposed sick fish went up to be dipped in it, as sick people went
down to be dipped in the sea. A little fishing was done in the port,
and a quantity of strolling about by night, and looking seaward:
particularly at those times when the tide made, and was near flood.
Small tradesmen, who did no business whatever, sometimes unaccountably
realised large fortunes, and it was remarkable that nobody in the
neighbourhood could endure a lamplighter.
As the day declined into the afternoon, and the air, which had been
at intervals clear enough to allow the French coast to be seen,
became again charged with mist and vapour, Mr. Lorry's thoughts
seemed to cloud too. When it was dark, and he sat before the
coffee-room fire, awaiting his dinner as he had awaited his breakfast,
his mind was busily digging, digging, digging, in the live red coals.
A bottle of good claret after dinner does a digger in the red coals
no harm, otherwise than as it has a tendency to throw him out of
work. Mr. Lorry had been idle a long time, and had just poured out
his last glassful of wine with as complete an appearance of
satisfaction as is ever to be found in an elderly gentleman of a
fresh complexion who has got to the end of a bottle, when a rattling
of wheels came up the narrow street, and rumbled into the inn-yard.
He set down his glass untouched. "This is Mam'selle!" said he.
In a very few minutes the waiter came in to announce that Miss
Manette had arrived from London, and would be happy to see the
gentleman from Tellson's.
Miss Manette had taken some refreshment on the road, and required
none then, and was extremely anxious to see the gentleman from
Tellson's immediately, if it suited his pleasure and convenience.
The gentleman from Tellson's had nothing left for it but to empty his
glass with an air of stolid desperation, settle his odd little flaxen
wig at the ears, and follow the waiter to Miss Manette's apartment.
It was a large, dark room, furnished in a funereal manner with black
horsehair, and loaded with heavy dark tables. These had been oiled
and oiled, until the two tall candles on the table in the middle of
the room were gloomily reflected on every leaf; as if THEY were
buried, in deep graves of black mahogany, and no light to speak of
could be expected from them until they were dug out.
The obscurity was so difficult to penetrate that Mr. Lorry,
picking his way over the well-worn Turkey carpet, supposed
Miss Manette to be, for the moment, in some adjacent room, until,
having got past the two tall candles, he saw standing to receive him
by the table between them and the fire, a young lady of not more than
seventeen, in a riding-cloak, and still holding her straw travelling-
hat by its ribbon in her hand. As his eyes rested on a short, slight,
pretty figure, a quantity of golden hair, a pair of blue eyes that
met his own with an inquiring look, and a forehead with a singular
capacity (remembering how young and smooth it was), of rifting and
knitting itself into an expression that was not quite one of perplexity,
or wonder, or alarm, or merely of a bright fixed attention, though it
included all the four expressions-as his eyes rested on these things,
a sudden vivid likeness passed before him, of a child whom he had
held in his arms on the passage across that very Channel, one cold
time, when the hail drifted heavily and the sea ran high. The
likeness passed away, like a breath along the surface of the gaunt
pier-glass behind her, on the frame of which, a hospital procession
of negro cupids, several headless and all cripples, were offering
black baskets of Dead Sea fruit to black divinities of the feminine
gender-and he made his formal bow to Miss Manette.
"Pray take a seat, sir." In a very clear and pleasant young voice;
a little foreign in its accent, but a very little indeed.
"I kiss your hand, miss," said Mr. Lorry, with the manners of an
earlier date, as he made his formal bow again, and took his seat.
"I received a letter from the Bank, sir, yesterday, informing me that
some intelligence--or discovery--"
"The word is not material, miss; either word will do."
"--respecting the small property of my poor father, whom I never
saw--so long dead--"
Mr. Lorry moved in his chair, and cast a troubled look towards the
hospital procession of negro cupids. As if THEY had any help for
anybody in their absurd baskets!
"--rendered it necessary that I should go to Paris, there to
communicate with a gentleman of the Bank, so good as to be despatched
to Paris for the purpose."
"As I was prepared to hear, sir."
She curtseyed to him (young ladies made curtseys in those days), with
a pretty desire to convey to him that she felt how much older and
wiser he was than she. He made her another bow.
"I replied to the Bank, sir, that as it was considered necessary, by
those who know, and who are so kind as to advise me, that I should go
to France, and that as I am an orphan and have no friend who could go
with me, I should esteem it highly if I might be permitted to place
myself, during the journey, under that worthy gentleman's protection.
The gentleman had left London, but I think a messenger was sent after
him to beg the favour of his waiting for me here."
"I was happy," said Mr. Lorry, "to be entrusted with the charge.
I shall be more happy to execute it."
"Sir, I thank you indeed. I thank you very gratefully. It was told
me by the Bank that the gentleman would explain to me the details of
the business, and that I must prepare myself to find them of a
surprising nature. I have done my best to prepare myself, and I
naturally have a strong and eager interest to know what they are."
"Naturally," said Mr. Lorry. "Yes--I--"
After a pause, he added, again settling the crisp flaxen wig at the ears,
"It is very difficult to begin."
He did not begin, but, in his indecision, met her glance. The young
forehead lifted itself into that singular expression--but it was
pretty and characteristic, besides being singular--and she raised
her hand, as if with an involuntary action she caught at, or stayed
some passing shadow.
"Are you quite a stranger to me, sir?"
"Am I not?" Mr. Lorry opened his hands, and extended them outwards
with an argumentative smile.
Between the eyebrows and just over the little feminine nose, the line
of which was as delicate and fine as it was possible to be, the
expression deepened itself as she took her seat thoughtfully in the
chair by which she had hitherto remained standing. He watched her as
she mused, and the moment she raised her eyes again, went on:
"In your adopted country, I presume, I cannot do better than address
you as a young English lady, Miss Manette?"
"If you please, sir."
"Miss Manette, I am a man of business. I have a business charge to
acquit myself of. In your reception of it, don't heed me any more
than if I was a speaking machine-truly, I am not much else. I will,
with your leave, relate to you, miss, the story of one of our
He seemed wilfully to mistake the word she had repeated, when he
added, in a hurry, "Yes, customers; in the banking business we
usually call our connection our customers. He was a French
gentleman; a scientific gentleman; a man of great acquirements--
"Not of Beauvais?"
"Why, yes, of Beauvais. Like Monsieur Manette, your father,
the gentleman was of Beauvais. Like Monsieur Manette, your father,
the gentleman was of repute in Paris. I had the honour of knowing
him there. Our relations were business relations, but confidential.
I was at that time in our French House, and had been--oh! twenty years."
"At that time--I may ask, at what time, sir?"
"I speak, miss, of twenty years ago. He married--an English
lady--and I was one of the trustees. His affairs, like the affairs
of many other French gentlemen and French families, were entirely in
Tellson's hands. In a similar way I am, or I have been, trustee of
one kind or other for scores of our customers. These are mere business
relations, miss; there is no friendship in them, no particular
interest, nothing like sentiment. I have passed from one to another,
in the course of my business life, just as I pass from one of our
customers to another in the course of my business day; in short, I
have no feelings; I am a mere machine. To go on--"
"But this is my father's story, sir; and I begin to think"
--the curiously roughened forehead was very intent upon him--"that
when I was left an orphan through my mother's surviving my father
only two years, it was you who brought me to England. I am almost
sure it was you."
Mr. Lorry took the hesitating little hand that confidingly advanced
to take his, and he put it with some ceremony to his lips. He then
conducted the young lady straightway to her chair again, and, holding
the chair-back with his left hand, and using his right by turns to
rub his chin, pull his wig at the ears, or point what he said, stood
looking down into her face while she sat looking up into his.
"Miss Manette, it WAS I. And you will see how truly I spoke of
myself just now, in saying I had no feelings, and that all the
relations I hold with my fellow-creatures are mere business
relations, when you reflect that I have never seen you since.
No; you have been the ward of Tellson's House since, and I have been
busy with the other business of Tellson's House since. Feelings!
I have no time for them, no chance of them. I pass my whole life,
miss, in turning an immense pecuniary Mangle."
After this odd description of his daily routine of employment, Mr.
Lorry flattened his flaxen wig upon his head with both hands (which
was most unnecessary, for nothing could be flatter than its shining
surface was before), and resumed his former attitude.
"So far, miss (as you have remarked), this is the story of your
regretted father. Now comes the difference. If your father had not
died when he did--Don't be frightened! How you start!"
She did, indeed, start. And she caught his wrist with both her hands.
"Pray," said Mr. Lorry, in a soothing tone, bringing his left hand
from the back of the chair to lay it on the supplicatory fingers that
clasped him in so violent a tremble: "pray control your agitation--
a matter of business. As I was saying--"
Her look so discomposed him that he stopped, wandered, and began anew:
"As I was saying; if Monsieur Manette had not died; if he had
suddenly and silently disappeared; if he had been spirited away;
if it had not been difficult to guess to what dreadful place, though
no art could trace him; if he had an enemy in some compatriot who
could exercise a privilege that I in my own time have known the boldest
people afraid to speak of in a whisper, across the water there; for
instance, the privilege of filling up blank forms for the consignment
of any one to the oblivion of a prison for any length of time; if his
wife had implored the king, the queen, the court, the clergy, for any
tidings of him, and all quite in vain;--then the history of your father
would have been the history of this unfortunate gentleman, the Doctor
"I entreat you to tell me more, sir."
"I will. I am going to. You can bear it?"
"I can bear anything but the uncertainty you leave me in at this moment."
"You speak collectedly, and you--ARE collected. That's good!"
(Though his manner was less satisfied than his words.) "A matter of
business. Regard it as a matter of business-business that must be
done. Now if this doctor's wife, though a lady of great courage and
spirit, had suffered so intensely from this cause before her little
child was born--"
"The little child was a daughter, sir."
"A daughter. A-a-matter of business--don't be distressed. Miss,
if the poor lady had suffered so intensely before her little child
was born, that she came to the determination of sparing the poor
child the inheritance of any part of the agony she had known the
pains of, by rearing her in the belief that her father was dead--
No, don't kneel! In Heaven's name why should you kneel to me!"
"For the truth. O dear, good, compassionate sir, for the truth!"
"A-a matter of business. You confuse me, and how can I transact
business if I am confused? Let us be clear-headed. If you could
kindly mention now, for instance, what nine times ninepence are,
or how many shillings in twenty guineas, it would be so encouraging.
I should be so much more at my ease about your state of mind."
Without directly answering to this appeal, she sat so still when
he had very gently raised her, and the hands that had not ceased
to clasp his wrists were so much more steady than they had been,
that she communicated some reassurance to Mr. Jarvis Lorry.
"That's right, that's right. Courage! Business! You have business
before you; useful business. Miss Manette, your mother took this
course with you. And when she died--I believe broken-hearted--
having never slackened her unavailing search for your father,
she left you, at two years old, to grow to be blooming, beautiful,
and happy, without the dark cloud upon you of living in uncertainty
whether your father soon wore his heart out in prison, or wasted
there through many lingering years."
As he said the words he looked down, with an admiring pity, on the
flowing golden hair; as if he pictured to himself that it might have
been already tinged with grey.
"You know that your parents had no great possession, and that what
they had was secured to your mother and to you. There has been no
new discovery, of money, or of any other property; but--"
He felt his wrist held closer, and he stopped. The expression in the
forehead, which had so particularly attracted his notice, and which
was now immovable, had deepened into one of pain and horror.
"But he has been--been found. He is alive. Greatly changed, it is
too probable; almost a wreck, it is possible; though we will hope the
best. Still, alive. Your father has been taken to the house of an
old servant in Paris, and we are going there: I, to identify him if
I can: you, to restore him to life, love, duty, rest, comfort."
A shiver ran through her frame, and from it through his. She said,
in a low, distinct, awe-stricken voice, as if she were saying it in a
"I am going to see his Ghost! It will be his Ghost--not him!"
Mr. Lorry quietly chafed the hands that held his arm. "There, there,
there! See now, see now! The best and the worst are known to you, now.
You are well on your way to the poor wronged gentleman, and, with a fair
sea voyage, and a fair land journey, you will be soon at his dear side."
She repeated in the same tone, sunk to a whisper, "I have been free,
I have been happy, yet his Ghost has never haunted me!"
"Only one thing more," said Mr. Lorry, laying stress upon it as a
wholesome means of enforcing her attention: "he has been found under
another name; his own, long forgotten or long concealed. It would be
worse than useless now to inquire which; worse than useless to seek
to know whether he has been for years overlooked, or always designedly
held prisoner. It would be worse than useless now to make any inquiries,
because it would be dangerous. Better not to mention the subject,
anywhere or in any way, and to remove him--for a while at all events--
out of France. Even I, safe as an Englishman, and even Tellson's,
important as they are to French credit, avoid all naming of the
matter. I carry about me, not a scrap of writing openly referring to
it. This is a secret service altogether. My credentials, entries,
and memoranda, are all comprehended in the one line, `Recalled to
Life;' which may mean anything. But what is the matter! She doesn't
notice a word! Miss Manette!"
Perfectly still and silent, and not even fallen back in her chair,
she sat under his hand, utterly insensible; with her eyes open and
fixed upon him, and with that last expression looking as if it were
carved or branded into her forehead. So close was her hold upon his
arm, that he feared to detach himself lest he should hurt her;
therefore he called out loudly for assistance without moving.
A wild-looking woman, whom even in his agitation, Mr. Lorry observed
to be all of a red colour, and to have red hair, and to be dressed in
some extraordinary tight-fitting fashion, and to have on her head a
most wonderful bonnet like a Grenadier wooden measure, and good
measure too, or a great Stilton cheese, came running into the room in
advance of the inn servants, and soon settled the question of his
detachment from the poor young lady, by laying a brawny hand upon his
chest, and sending him flying back against the nearest wall.
("I really think this must be a man!" was Mr. Lorry's breathless
reflection, simultaneously with his coming against the wall.)
"Why, look at you all!" bawled this figure, addressing the inn
servants. "Why don't you go and fetch things, instead of standing
there staring at me? I am not so much to look at, am I? Why don't
you go and fetch things? I'll let you know, if you don't bring
smelling-salts, cold water, and vinegar, quick, I will."
There was an immediate dispersal for these restoratives, and she
softly laid the patient on a sofa, and tended her with great skill
and gentleness: calling her "my precious!" and "my bird!" and spreading
her golden hair aside over her shoulders with great pride and care.
"And you in brown!" she said, indignantly turning to Mr. Lorry;
"couldn't you tell her what you had to tell her, without frightening
her to death? Look at her, with her pretty pale face and her cold
hands. Do you call THAT being a Banker?"
Mr. Lorry was so exceedingly disconcerted by a question so hard to
answer, that he could only look on, at a distance, with much feebler
sympathy and humility, while the strong woman, having banished the
inn servants under the mysterious penalty of "letting them know"
something not mentioned if they stayed there, staring, recovered her
charge by a regular series of gradations, and coaxed her to lay her
drooping head upon her shoulder.
"I hope she will do well now," said Mr. Lorry.
"No thanks to you in brown, if she does. My darling pretty!"
"I hope," said Mr. Lorry, after another pause of feeble sympathy and
humility, "that you accompany Miss Manette to France?"
"A likely thing, too!" replied the strong woman. "If it was ever
intended that I should go across salt water, do you suppose
Providence would have cast my lot in an island?"
This being another question hard to answer, Mr. Jarvis Lorry withdrew
to consider it.
A large cask of wine had been dropped and broken, in the street.
The accident had happened in getting it out of a cart; the cask had
tumbled out with a run, the hoops had burst, and it lay on the stones
just outside the door of the wine-shop, shattered like a
All the people within reach had suspended their business, or their
idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine. The rough,
irregular stones of the street, pointing every way, and designed,
one might have thought, expressly to lame all living creatures that
approached them, had dammed it into little pools; these were surrounded,
each by its own jostling group or crowd, according to its size.
Some men kneeled down, made scoops of their two hands joined, and
sipped, or tried to help women, who bent over their shoulders, to
sip, before the wine had all run out between their fingers. Others,
men and women, dipped in the puddles with little mugs of mutilated
earthenware, or even with handkerchiefs from women's heads, which
were squeezed dry into infants' mouths; others made small mud-
embankments, to stem the wine as it ran; others, directed by
lookers-on up at high windows, darted here and there, to cut off
little streams of wine that started away in new directions; others
devoted themselves to the sodden and lee-dyed pieces of the cask,
licking, and even champing the moister wine-rotted fragments with
eager relish. There was no drainage to carry off the wine, and not
only did it all get taken up, but so much mud got taken up along with
it, that there might have been a scavenger in the street, if anybody
acquainted with it could have believed in such a miraculous presence.
A shrill sound of laughter and of amused voices--voices of men,
women, and children--resounded in the street while this wine game
lasted. There was little roughness in the sport, and much playfulness.
There was a special companionship in it, an observable inclination on
the part of every one to join some other one, which led, especially
among the luckier or lighter-hearted, to frolicsome embraces,
drinking of healths, shaking of hands, and even joining of hands and
dancing, a dozen together. When the wine was gone, and the places
where it had been most abundant were raked into a gridiron-pattern by
fingers, these demonstrations ceased, as suddenly as they had broken
out. The man who had left his saw sticking in the firewood he was
cutting, set it in motion again; the women who had left on a door-step
the little pot of hot ashes, at which she had been trying to soften
the pain in her own starved fingers and toes, or in those of her
child, returned to it; men with bare arms, matted locks, and cadaverous
faces, who had emerged into the winter light from cellars, moved
away, to descend again; and a gloom gathered on the scene that
appeared more natural to it than sunshine.
The wine was red wine, and had stained the ground of the narrow
street in the suburb of Saint Antoine, in Paris, where it was
spilled. It had stained many hands, too, and many faces, and many
naked feet, and many wooden shoes. The hands of the man who sawed
the wood, left red marks on the billets; and the forehead of the
woman who nursed her baby, was stained with the stain of the old rag
she wound about her head again. Those who had been greedy with the
staves of the cask, had acquired a tigerish smear about the mouth;
and one tall joker so besmirched, his head more out of a long squalid
bag of a nightcap than in it, scrawled upon a wall with his finger
dipped in muddy wine-lees--BLOOD.
The time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the
street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there.
And now that the cloud settled on Saint Antoine, which a momentary
gleam had driven from his sacred countenance, the darkness of it was
heavy-cold, dirt, sickness, ignorance, and want, were the lords in
waiting on the saintly presence-nobles of great power all of them;
but, most especially the last. Samples of a people that had
undergone a terrible grinding and regrinding in the mill, and
certainly not in the fabulous mill which ground old people young,
shivered at every corner, passed in and out at every doorway, looked
from every window, fluttered in every vestige of a garment that the
wind shook. The mill which had worked them down, was the mill that
grinds young people old; the children had ancient faces and grave
voices; and upon them, and upon the grown faces, and ploughed into
every furrow of age and coming up afresh, was the sigh, Hunger. It
was prevalent everywhere. Hunger was pushed out of the tall houses,
in the wretched clothing that hung upon poles and lines; Hunger was
patched into them with straw and rag and wood and paper; Hunger was
repeated in every fragment of the small modicum of firewood that the
man sawed off; Hunger stared down from the smokeless chimneys, and
started up from the filthy street that had no offal, among its refuse,
of anything to eat. Hunger was the inscription on the baker's
shelves, written in every small loaf of his scanty stock of bad
bread; at the sausage-shop, in every dead-dog preparation that was
offered for sale. Hunger rattled its dry bones among the roasting
chestnuts in the turned cylinder; Hunger was shred into atomics in
every farthing porringer of husky chips of potato, fried with some
reluctant drops of oil.
Its abiding place was in all things fitted to it. A narrow winding
street, full of offence and stench, with other narrow winding streets
diverging, all peopled by rags and nightcaps, and all smelling of
rags and nightcaps, and all visible things with a brooding look upon
them that looked ill. In the hunted air of the people there was yet
some wild-beast thought of the possibility of turning at bay. Depressed
and slinking though they were, eyes of fire were not wanting among
them; nor compressed lips, white with what they suppressed; nor
foreheads knitted into the likeness of the gallows-rope they mused
about enduring, or inflicting. The trade signs (and they were almost
as many as the shops) were, all, grim illustrations of Want. The
butcher and the porkman painted up, only the leanest scrags of meat;
the baker, the coarsest of meagre loaves. The people rudely pictured
as drinking in the wine-shops, croaked over their scanty measures of
thin wine and beer, and were gloweringly confidential together.
Nothing was represented in a flourishing condition, save tools and
weapons; but, the cutler's knives and axes were sharp and bright, the
smith's hammers were heavy, and the gunmaker's stock was murderous.
The crippling stones of the pavement, with their many little
reservoirs of mud and water, had no footways, but broke off abruptly
at the doors. The kennel, to make amends, ran down the middle of the
street--when it ran at all: which was only after heavy rains, and
then it ran, by many eccentric fits, into the houses. Across the
streets, at wide intervals, one clumsy lamp was slung by a rope and
pulley; at night, when the lamplighter had let these down, and lighted,
and hoisted them again, a feeble grove of dim wicks swung in a sickly
manner overhead, as if they were at sea. Indeed they were at sea,
and the ship and crew were in peril of tempest.
For, the time was to come, when the gaunt scarecrows of that region
should have watched the lamplighter, in their idleness and hunger,
so long, as to conceive the idea of improving on his method, and
hauling up men by those ropes and pulleys, to flare upon the
darkness of their condition. But, the time was not come yet; and
every wind that blew over France shook the rags of the scarecrows
in vain, for the birds, fine of song and feather, took no warning.
The wine-shop was a corner shop, better than most others in its
appearance and degree, and the master of the wine-shop had stood
outside it, in a yellow waistcoat and green breeches, looking on at
the struggle for the lost wine. "It's not my affair," said he,
with a final shrug of the shoulders. "The people from the market
did it. Let them bring another."
There, his eyes happening to catch the tall joker writing up his
joke, he called to him across the way:
"Say, then, my Gaspard, what do you do there?"
The fellow pointed to his joke with immense significance, as is often
the way with his tribe. It missed its mark, and completely failed,
as is often the way with his tribe too.
"What now? Are you a subject for the mad hospital?" said the
wine-shop keeper, crossing the road, and obliterating the jest with
a handful of mud, picked up for the purpose, and smeared over it.
"Why do you write in the public streets? Is there--tell me thou--is
there no other place to write such words in?"
In his expostulation he dropped his cleaner hand (perhaps accidentally,
perhaps not) upon the joker's heart. The joker rapped it with his
own, took a nimble spring upward, and came down in a fantastic
dancing attitude, with one of his stained shoes jerked off his foot
into his hand, and held out. A joker of an extremely, not to say
wolfishly practical character, he looked, under those circumstances.
"Put it on, put it on," said the other. "Call wine, wine; and finish
there." With that advice, he wiped his soiled hand upon the joker's
dress, such as it was--quite deliberately, as having dirtied the hand
on his account; and then recrossed the road and entered the wine-shop.
This wine-shop keeper was a bull-necked, martial-looking man of
thirty, and he should have been of a hot temperament, for, although
it was a bitter day, he wore no coat, but carried one slung over his
shoulder. His shirt-sleeves were rolled up, too, and his brown arms
were bare to the elbows. Neither did he wear anything more on his
head than his own crisply-curling short dark hair. He was a dark man
altogether, with good eyes and a good bold breadth between them.
Good-humoured looking on the whole, but implacable-looking, too;
evidently a man of a strong resolution and a set purpose; a man not
desirable to be met, rushing down a narrow pass with a gulf on either
side, for nothing would turn the man.
Madame Defarge, his wife, sat in the shop behind the counter as he
came in. Madame Defarge was a stout woman of about his own age, with
a watchful eye that seldom seemed to look at anything, a large hand
heavily ringed, a steady face, strong features, and great composure
of manner. There was a character about Madame Defarge, from which
one might have predicated that she did not often make mistakes against
herself in any of the reckonings over which she presided. Madame
Defarge being sensitive to cold, was wrapped in fur, and had a
quantity of bright shawl twined about her head, though not to the
concealment of her large earrings. Her knitting was before her, but
she had laid it down to pick her teeth with a toothpick. Thus
engaged, with her right elbow supported by her left hand, Madame
Defarge said nothing when her lord came in, but coughed just one
grain of cough. This, in combination with the lifting of her darkly
defined eyebrows over her toothpick by the breadth of a line, suggested
to her husband that he would do well to look round the shop among the
customers, for any new customer who had dropped in while he stepped
over the way.
The wine-shop keeper accordingly rolled his eyes about, until they
rested upon an elderly gentleman and a young lady, who were seated in
a corner. Other company were there: two playing cards, two playing
dominoes, three standing by the counter lengthening out a short
supply of wine. As he passed behind the counter, he took notice that
the elderly gentleman said in a look to the young lady, "This is our
"What the devil do YOU do in that galley there?" said Monsieur
Defarge to himself; "I don't know you."
But, he feigned not to notice the two strangers, and fell into
discourse with the triumvirate of customers who were drinking at the
"How goes it, Jacques?" said one of these three to Monsieur Defarge.
"Is all the spilt wine swallowed?"
"Every drop, Jacques," answered Monsieur Defarge.
When this interchange of Christian name was effected, Madame Defarge,
picking her teeth with her toothpick, coughed another grain of cough,
and raised her eyebrows by the breadth of another line.
"It is not often," said the second of the three, addressing Monsieur
Defarge, "that many of these miserable beasts know the taste of wine,
or of anything but black bread and death. Is it not so, Jacques?"
"It is so, Jacques," Monsieur Defarge returned.
At this second interchange of the Christian name, Madame Defarge,
still using her toothpick with profound composure, coughed another
grain of cough, and raised her eyebrows by the breadth of another line.
The last of the three now said his say, as he put down his empty
drinking vessel and smacked his lips.
"Ah! So much the worse! A bitter taste it is that such poor cattle
always have in their mouths, and hard lives they live, Jacques.
Am I right, Jacques?"
"You are right, Jacques," was the response of Monsieur Defarge.
This third interchange of the Christian name was completed at the
moment when Madame Defarge put her toothpick by, kept her eyebrows
up, and slightly rustled in her seat.
"Hold then! True!" muttered her husband. "Gentlemen--my wife!"
The three customers pulled off their hats to Madame Defarge, with
three flourishes. She acknowledged their homage by bending her head,
and giving them a quick look. Then she glanced in a casual manner
round the wine-shop, took up her knitting with great apparent
calmness and repose of spirit, and became absorbed in it.
"Gentlemen," said her husband, who had kept his bright eye
observantly upon her, "good day. The chamber, furnished bachelor-
fashion, that you wished to see, and were inquiring for when I
stepped out, is on the fifth floor. The doorway of the staircase
gives on the little courtyard close to the left here," pointing with
his hand, "near to the window of my establishment. But, now that I
remember, one of you has already been there, and can show the way.
They paid for their wine, and left the place. The eyes of Monsieur
Defarge were studying his wife at her knitting when the elderly
gentleman advanced from his corner, and begged the favour of a word.
"Willingly, sir," said Monsieur Defarge, and quietly stepped with him
to the door.
Their conference was very short, but very decided. Almost at the
first word, Monsieur Defarge started and became deeply attentive.
It had not lasted a minute, when he nodded and went out. The
gentleman then beckoned to the young lady, and they, too, went out.
Madame Defarge knitted with nimble fingers and steady eyebrows, and
Mr. Jarvis Lorry and Miss Manette, emerging from the wine-shop thus,
joined Monsieur Defarge in the doorway to which he had directed his
own company just before. It opened from a stinking little black
courtyard, and was the general public entrance to a great pile of
houses, inhabited by a great number of people. In the gloomy tile-
paved entry to the gloomy tile-paved staircase, Monsieur Defarge bent
down on one knee to the child of his old master, and put her hand to
his lips. It was a gentle action, but not at all gently done; a very
remarkable transformation had come over him in a few seconds. He had
no good-humour in his face, nor any openness of aspect left, but had
become a secret, angry, dangerous man.
"It is very high; it is a little difficult. Better to begin slowly."
Thus, Monsieur Defarge, in a stern voice, to Mr. Lorry, as they began
ascending the stairs.
"Is he alone?" the latter whispered.
"Alone! God help him, who should be with him!" said the other, in the
same low voice.
"Is he always alone, then?"
"Of his own desire?"
"Of his own necessity. As he was, when I first saw him after they
found me and demanded to know if I would take him, and, at my peril
be discreet--as he was then, so he is now."
"He is greatly changed?"
The keeper of the wine-shop stopped to strike the wall with his hand,
and mutter a tremendous curse. No direct answer could have been half
so forcible. Mr. Lorry's spirits grew heavier and heavier, as he and
his two companions ascended higher and higher.
Such a staircase, with its accessories, in the older and more crowded
parts of Paris, would be bad enough now; but, at that time, it was
vile indeed to unaccustomed and unhardened senses. Every little
habitation within the great foul nest of one high building--that is
to say, the room or rooms within every door that opened on the
general staircase--left its own heap of refuse on its own landing,
besides flinging other refuse from its own windows. The uncontrollable
and hopeless mass of decomposition so engendered, would have polluted
the air, even if poverty and deprivation had not loaded it with their
intangible impurities; the two bad sources combined made it almost
insupportable. Through such an atmosphere, by a steep dark shaft of
dirt and poison, the way lay. Yielding to his own disturbance of
mind, and to his young companion's agitation, which became greater
every instant, Mr. Jarvis Lorry twice stopped to rest. Each of these
stoppages was made at a doleful grating, by which any languishing
good airs that were left uncorrupted, seemed to escape, and all
spoilt and sickly vapours seemed to crawl in. Through the rusted
bars, tastes, rather than glimpses, were caught of the jumbled
neighbourhood; and nothing within range, nearer or lower than the
summits of the two great towers of Notre-Dame, had any promise on it
of healthy life or wholesome aspirations.
At last, the top of the staircase was gained, and they stopped for
the third time. There was yet an upper staircase, of a steeper
inclination and of contracted dimensions, to be ascended, before the
garret story was reached. The keeper of the wine-shop, always going
a little in advance, and always going on the side which Mr. Lorry
took, as though he dreaded to be asked any question by the young
lady, turned himself about here, and, carefully feeling in the
pockets of the coat he carried over his shoulder, took out a key.
"The door is locked then, my friend?" said Mr. Lorry, surprised.
"Ay. Yes," was the grim reply of Monsieur Defarge.
"You think it necessary to keep the unfortunate gentleman so retired?"
"I think it necessary to turn the key." Monsieur Defarge whispered it
closer in his ear, and frowned heavily.
"Why! Because he has lived so long, locked up, that he would be
frightened-rave-tear himself to pieces-die-come to I know not what
harm--if his door was left open."
"Is it possible!" exclaimed Mr. Lorry.
"Is it possible!" repeated Defarge, bitterly. "Yes. And a beautiful
world we live in, when it IS possible, and when many other such
things are possible, and not only possible, but done--done, see
you!--under that sky there, every day. Long live the Devil. Let us
This dialogue had been held in so very low a whisper, that not a word
of it had reached the young lady's ears. But, by this time she
trembled under such strong emotion, and her face expressed such deep
anxiety, and, above all, such dread and terror, that Mr. Lorry felt
it incumbent on him to speak a word or two of reassurance.
"Courage, dear miss! Courage! Business! The worst will be over
in a moment; it is but passing the room-door, and the worst is over.
Then, all the good you bring to him, all the relief, all the
happiness you bring to him, begin. Let our good friend here,
assist you on that side. That's well, friend Defarge. Come, now.
They went up slowly and softly. The staircase was short, and they
were soon at the top. There, as it had an abrupt turn in it, they
came all at once in sight of three men, whose heads were bent down
close together at the side of a door, and who were intently looking
into the room to which the door belonged, through some chinks or
holes in the wall. On hearing footsteps close at hand, these three
turned, and rose, and showed themselves to be the three of one name
who had been drinking in the wine-shop.
"I forgot them in the surprise of your visit," explained Monsieur
Defarge. "Leave us, good boys; we have business here."
The three glided by, and went silently down.
There appearing to be no other door on that floor, and the keeper of
the wine-shop going straight to this one when they were left alone,
Mr. Lorry asked him in a whisper, with a little anger:
"Do you make a show of Monsieur Manette?"
"I show him, in the way you have seen, to a chosen few."
"Is that well?"
"_I_ think it is well."
"Who are the few? How do you choose them?"
"I choose them as real men, of my name--Jacques is my name--to whom
the sight is likely to do good. Enough; you are English; that is
another thing. Stay there, if you please, a little moment."
With an admonitory gesture to keep them back, he stooped, and looked
in through the crevice in the wall. Soon raising his head again, he
struck twice or thrice upon the door--evidently with no other object
than to make a noise there. With the same intention, he drew the key
across it, three or four times, before he put it clumsily into the
lock, and turned it as heavily as he could.
The door slowly opened inward under his hand, and he looked into the
room and said something. A faint voice answered something. Little
more than a single syllable could have been spoken on either side.
He looked back over his shoulder, and beckoned them to enter.
Mr. Lorry got his arm securely round the daughter's waist, and held
her; for he felt that she was sinking.
"A-a-a-business, business!" he urged, with a moisture that was not of
business shining on his cheek. "Come in, come in!"
"I am afraid of it," she answered, shuddering.
"Of it? What?"
"I mean of him. Of my father."
Rendered in a manner desperate, by her state and by the beckoning of
their conductor, he drew over his neck the arm that shook upon his
shoulder, lifted her a little, and hurried her into the room. He sat
her down just within the door, and held her, clinging to him.
Defarge drew out the key, closed the door, locked it on the inside,
took out the key again, and held it in his hand. All this he did,
methodically, and with as loud and harsh an accompaniment of noise as
he could make. Finally, he walked across the room with a measured
tread to where the window was. He stopped there, and faced round.
The garret, built to be a depository for firewood and the like, was
dim and dark: for, the window of dormer shape, was in truth a door in
the roof, with a little crane over it for the hoisting up of stores
from the street: unglazed, and closing up the middle in two pieces,
like any other door of French construction. To exclude the cold, one
half of this door was fast closed, and the other was opened but a
very little way. Such a scanty portion of light was admitted through
these means, that it was difficult, on first coming in, to see
anything; and long habit alone could have slowly formed in any one,
the ability to do any work requiring nicety in such obscurity. Yet,
work of that kind was being done in the garret; for, with his back
towards the door, and his face towards the window where the keeper of
the wine-shop stood looking at him, a white-haired man sat on a low
bench, stooping forward and very busy, making shoes.
"Good day!" said Monsieur Defarge, looking down at the white head
that bent low over the shoemaking.
It was raised for a moment, and a very faint voice responded to the
salutation, as if it were at a distance:
"You are still hard at work, I see?"
After a long silence, the head was lifted for another moment, and the
voice replied, "Yes--I am working." This time, a pair of haggard eyes
had looked at the questioner, before the face had dropped again.
The faintness of the voice was pitiable and dreadful. It was not the
faintness of physical weakness, though confinement and hard fare no
doubt had their part in it. Its deplorable peculiarity was, that it
was the faintness of solitude and disuse. It was like the last
feeble echo of a sound made long and long ago. So entirely had it
lost the life and resonance of the human voice, that it affected the
senses like a once beautiful colour faded away into a poor weak
stain. So sunken and suppressed it was, that it was like a voice
underground. So expressive it was, of a hopeless and lost creature,
that a famished traveller, wearied out by lonely wandering in a
wilderness, would have remembered home and friends in such a tone
before lying down to die.
Some minutes of silent work had passed: and the haggard eyes had
looked up again: not with any interest or curiosity, but with a dull
mechanical perception, beforehand, that the spot where the only
visitor they were aware of had stood, was not yet empty.
"I want," said Defarge, who had not removed his gaze from the
shoemaker, "to let in a little more light here. You can bear a
The shoemaker stopped his work; looked with a vacant air of listening,
at the floor on one side of him; then similarly, at the floor on the
other side of him; then, upward at the speaker.
"What did you say?"
"You can bear a little more light?"
"I must bear it, if you let it in." (Laying the palest shadow of a
stress upon the second word.)
The opened half-door was opened a little further, and secured at that
angle for the time. A broad ray of light fell into the garret, and
showed the workman with an unfinished shoe upon his lap, pausing in
his labour. His few common tools and various scraps of leather were
at his feet and on his bench. He had a white beard, raggedly cut,
but not very long, a hollow face, and exceedingly bright eyes. The
hollowness and thinness of his face would have caused them to look
large, under his yet dark eyebrows and his confused white hair,
though they had been really otherwise; but, they were naturally
large, and looked unnaturally so. His yellow rags of shirt lay open
at the throat, and showed his body to be withered and worn. He, and
his old canvas frock, and his loose stockings, and all his poor
tatters of clothes, had, in a long seclusion from direct light and
air, faded down to such a dull uniformity of parchment-yellow, that
it would have been hard to say which was which.
He had put up a hand between his eyes and the light, and the very
bones of it seemed transparent. So he sat, with a steadfastly vacant
gaze, pausing in his work. He never looked at the figure before him,
without first looking down on this side of himself, then on that, as
if he had lost the habit of associating place with sound; he never
spoke, without first wandering in this manner, and forgetting to speak.
"Are you going to finish that pair of shoes to-day?" asked Defarge,
motioning to Mr. Lorry to come forward.
"What did you say?"
"Do you mean to finish that pair of shoes to-day?"
"I can't say that I mean to. I suppose so. I don't know."
But, the question reminded him of his work, and he bent over it again.
Mr. Lorry came silently forward, leaving the daughter by the door.
When he had stood, for a minute or two, by the side of Defarge, the
shoemaker looked up. He showed no surprise at seeing another figure,
but the unsteady fingers of one of his hands strayed to his lips as
he looked at it (his lips and his nails were of the same pale lead-
colour), and then the hand dropped to his work, and he once more bent
over the shoe. The look and the action had occupied but an instant.
"You have a visitor, you see," said Monsieur Defarge.
"What did you say?"
"Here is a visitor."
The shoemaker looked up as before, but without removing a hand from his work.
"Come!" said Defarge. "Here is monsieur, who knows a well-made shoe
when he sees one. Show him that shoe you are working at. Take it, monsieur."
Mr. Lorry took it in his hand.
"Tell monsieur what kind of shoe it is, and the maker's name."
There was a longer pause than usual, before the shoemaker replied:
"I forget what it was you asked me. What did you say?"
"I said, couldn't you describe the kind of shoe, for monsieur's information?"
"It is a lady's shoe. It is a young lady's walking-shoe. It is in the
present mode. I never saw the mode. I have had a pattern in my hand."
He glanced at the shoe with some little passing touch of pride.
"And the maker's name?" said Defarge.
Now that he had no work to hold, he laid the knuckles of the right hand
in the hollow of the left, and then the knuckles of the left hand in the
hollow of the right, and then passed a hand across his bearded chin,
and so on in regular changes, without a moment's intermission.
The task of recalling him from the vagrancy into which he always
sank when he had spoken, was like recalling some very weak person
from a swoon, or endeavouring, in the hope of some disclosure,
to stay the spirit of a fast-dying man.
"Did you ask me for my name?"
"Assuredly I did."
"One Hundred and Five, North Tower."
"Is that all?"
"One Hundred and Five, North Tower."
With a weary sound that was not a sigh, nor a groan, he bent to work
again, until the silence was again broken.
"You are not a shoemaker by trade?" said Mr. Lorry, looking steadfastly
His haggard eyes turned to Defarge as if he would have transferred
the question to him: but as no help came from that quarter, they
turned back on the questioner when they had sought the ground.
"I am not a shoemaker by trade? No, I was not a shoemaker by trade.
I-I learnt it here. I taught myself. I asked leave to--"
He lapsed away, even for minutes, ringing those measured changes on
his hands the whole time. His eyes came slowly back, at last, to the
face from which they had wandered; when they rested on it, he started,
and resumed, in the manner of a sleeper that moment awake,
reverting to a subject of last night.
"I asked leave to teach myself, and I got it with much difficulty
after a long while, and I have made shoes ever since."
As he held out his hand for the shoe that had been taken from him,
Mr. Lorry said, still looking steadfastly in his face:
"Monsieur Manette, do you remember nothing of me?"
The shoe dropped to the ground, and he sat looking fixedly at the
"Monsieur Manette"; Mr. Lorry laid his hand upon Defarge's arm;
"do you remember nothing of this man? Look at him. Look at me.
Is there no old banker, no old business, no old servant, no old time,
rising in your mind, Monsieur Manette?"
As the captive of many years sat looking fixedly, by turns, at
Mr. Lorry and at Defarge, some long obliterated marks of an actively
intent intelligence in the middle of the forehead, gradually forced
themselves through the black mist that had fallen on him. They were
overclouded again, they were fainter, they were gone; but they had
been there. And so exactly was the expression repeated on the fair
young face of her who had crept along the wall to a point where she
could see him, and where she now stood looking at him, with hands
which at first had been only raised in frightened compassion, if not
even to keep him off and shut out the sight of him, but which were
now extending towards him, trembling with eagerness to lay the
spectral face upon her warm young breast, and love it back to life
and hope--so exactly was the expression repeated (though in stronger
characters) on her fair young face, that it looked as though it had
passed like a moving light, from him to her.
Darkness had fallen on him in its place. He looked at the two, less
and less attentively, and his eyes in gloomy abstraction sought the
ground and looked about him in the old way. Finally, with a deep
long sigh, he took the shoe up, and resumed his work.
"Have you recognised him, monsieur?" asked Defarge in a whisper.
"Yes; for a moment. At first I thought it quite hopeless, but I have
unquestionably seen, for a single moment, the face that I once knew
so well. Hush! Let us draw further back. Hush!"
She had moved from the wall of the garret, very near to the bench on
which he sat. There was something awful in his unconsciousness of
the figure that could have put out its hand and touched him as he
stooped over his labour.
Not a word was spoken, not a sound was made. She stood, like a
spirit, beside him, and he bent over his work.
It happened, at length, that he had occasion to change the instrument
in his hand, for his shoemaker's knife. It lay on that side of him
which was not the side on which she stood. He had taken it up, and
was stooping to work again, when his eyes caught the skirt of her
dress. He raised them, and saw her face. The two spectators started
forward, but she stayed them with a motion of her hand. She had no
fear of his striking at her with the knife, though they had.
He stared at her with a fearful look, and after a while his lips
began to form some words, though no sound proceeded from them. By
degrees, in the pauses of his quick and laboured breathing, he was
heard to say:
"What is this?"
With the tears streaming down her face, she put her two hands to her
lips, and kissed them to him; then clasped them on her breast, as if
she laid his ruined head there.
"You are not the gaoler's daughter?"
She sighed "No."
"Who are you?"
Not yet trusting the tones of her voice, she sat down on the bench
beside him. He recoiled, but she laid her hand upon his arm. A
strange thrill struck him when she did so, and visibly passed over
his frame; he laid the knife down' softly, as he sat staring at her.
Her golden hair, which she wore in long curls, had been hurriedly
pushed aside, and fell down over her neck. Advancing his hand by
little and little, he took it up and looked at it. In the midst of
the action he went astray, and, with another deep sigh, fell to work
at his shoemaking.
But not for long. Releasing his arm, she laid her hand upon his
shoulder. After looking doubtfully at it, two or three times, as if
to be sure that it was really there, he laid down his work, put his
hand to his neck, and took off a blackened string with a scrap of
folded rag attached to it. He opened this, carefully, on his knee,
and it contained a very little quantity of hair: not more than one or
two long golden hairs, which he had, in some old day, wound off upon
He took her hair into his hand again, and looked closely at it. "It
is the same. How can it be! When was it! How was it!"
As the concentrated expression returned to his forehead, he seemed to
become conscious that it was in hers too. He turned her full to the
light, and looked at her.
"She had laid her head upon my shoulder, that night when I was
summoned out--she had a fear of my going, though I had none--and when
I was brought to the North Tower they found these upon my sleeve.
'You will leave me them? They can never help me to escape in the
body, though they may in the spirit.' Those were the words I said.
I remember them very well."
He formed this speech with his lips many times before he could utter
it. But when he did find spoken words for it, they came to him
coherently, though slowly.
"How was this?--WAS IT YOU?"
Once more, the two spectators started, as he turned upon her with a
frightful suddenness. But she sat perfectly still in his grasp, and
only said, in a low voice, "I entreat you, good gentlemen, do not
come near us, do not speak, do not move!"
"Hark!" he exclaimed. "Whose voice was that?"
His hands released her as he uttered this cry, and went up to his
white hair, which they tore in a frenzy. It died out, as everything
but his shoemaking did die out of him, and he refolded his little
packet and tried to secure it in his breast; but he still looked at
her, and gloomily shook his head.
"No, no, no; you are too young, too blooming. It can't be. See what
the prisoner is. These are not the hands she knew, this is not the
face she knew, this is not a voice she ever heard. No, no. She
was--and He was--before the slow years of the North Tower--ages ago.
What is your name, my gentle angel?"
Hailing his softened tone and manner, his daughter fell upon her
knees before him, with her appealing hands upon his breast.
"O, sir, at another time you shall know my name, and who my mother
was, and who my father, and how I never knew their hard, hard
history. But I cannot tell you at this time, and I cannot tell you
here. All that I may tell you, here and now, is, that I pray to you
to touch me and to bless me. Kiss me, kiss me! O my dear, my dear!"
His cold white head mingled with her radiant hair, which warmed and
lighted it as though it were the light of Freedom shining on him.
"If you hear in my voice--I don't know that it is so, but I hope it
is--if you hear in my voice any resemblance to a voice that once was
sweet music in your ears, weep for it, weep for it! If you touch,
in touching my hair, anything that recalls a beloved head that lay on
your breast when you were young and free, weep for it, weep for it!
If, when I hint to you of a Home that is before us, where I will be
true to you with all my duty and with all my faithful service, I
bring back the remembrance of a Home long desolate, while your poor
heart pined away, weep for it, weep for it!"
She held him closer round the neck, and rocked him on her breast
like a child.
"If, when I tell you, dearest dear, that your agony is over, and that
I have come here to take you from it, and that we go to England to be
at peace and at rest, I cause you to think of your useful life laid
waste, and of our native France so wicked to you, weep for it, weep
for it! And if, when I shall tell you of my name, and of my father
who is living, and of my mother who is dead, you learn that I have to
kneel to my honoured father, and implore his pardon for having never
for his sake striven all day and lain awake and wept all night,
because the love of my poor mother hid his torture from me, weep for
it, weep for it! Weep for her, then, and for me! Good gentlemen,
thank God! I feel his sacred tears upon my face, and his sobs strike
against my heart. O, see! Thank God for us, thank God!"
He had sunk in her arms, and his face dropped on her breast: a sight
so touching, yet so terrible in the tremendous wrong and suffering
which had gone before it, that the two beholders covered their faces.
When the quiet of the garret had been long undisturbed, and his
heaving breast and shaken form had long yielded to the calm that must
follow all storms--emblem to humanity, of the rest and silence into
which the storm called Life must hush at last--they came forward to
raise the father and daughter from the ground. He had gradually
dropped to the floor, and lay there in a lethargy, worn out. She had
nestled down with him, that his head might lie upon her arm; and her
hair drooping over him curtained him from the light.
"If, without disturbing him," she said, raising her hand to Mr. Lorry
as he stooped over them, after repeated blowings of his nose, "all
could be arranged for our leaving Paris at once, so that, from the,
very door, he could be taken away--"
"But, consider. Is he fit for the journey?" asked Mr. Lorry.
"More fit for that, I think, than to remain in this city, so dreadful to him."
"It is true," said Defarge, who was kneeling to look on and hear.
"More than that; Monsieur Manette is, for all reasons, best out of
France. Say, shall I hire a carriage and post-horses?"
"That's business," said Mr. Lorry, resuming on the shortest notice
his methodical manners; "and if business is to be done, I had better do it."
"Then be so kind," urged Miss Manette, "as to leave us here. You see
how composed he has become, and you cannot be afraid to leave him
with me now. Why should you be? If you will lock the door to secure
us from interruption, I do not doubt that you will find him, when you
come back, as quiet as you leave him. In any case, I will take care
of him until you return, and then we will remove him straight."
Both Mr. Lorry and Defarge were rather disinclined to this course,
and in favour of one of them remaining. But, as there were not only
carriage and horses to be seen to, but travelling papers; and as time
pressed, for the day was drawing to an end, it came at last to their
hastily dividing the business that was necessary to be done, and
hurrying away to do it.
Then, as the darkness closed in, the daughter laid her head down on
the hard ground close at the father's side, and watched him. The
darkness deepened and deepened, and they both lay quiet, until a
light gleamed through the chinks in the wall.
Mr. Lorry and Monsieur Defarge had made all ready for the journey,
and had brought with them, besides travelling cloaks and wrappers,
bread and meat, wine, and hot coffee. Monsieur Defarge put this
provender, and the lamp he carried, on the shoemaker's bench (there
was nothing else in the garret but a pallet bed), and he and
Mr. Lorry roused the captive, and assisted him to his feet.
No human intelligence could have read the mysteries of his mind, in
the scared blank wonder of his face. Whether he knew what had
happened, whether he recollected what they had said to him, whether
he knew that he was free, were questions which no sagacity could have
solved. They tried speaking to him; but, he was so confused, and so