Part 2 out of 9
very slow to answer, that they took fright at his bewilderment, and
agreed for the time to tamper with him no more. He had a wild, lost
manner of occasionally clasping his head in his hands, that had not
been seen in him before; yet, he had some pleasure in the mere sound
of his daughter's voice, and invariably turned to it when she spoke.
In the submissive way of one long accustomed to obey under coercion,
he ate and drank what they gave him to eat and drink, and put on the
cloak and other wrappings, that they gave him to wear. He readily
responded to his daughter's drawing her arm through his, and
took--and kept--her hand in both his own.
They began to descend; Monsieur Defarge going first with the lamp,
Mr. Lorry closing the little procession. They had not traversed many
steps of the long main staircase when he stopped, and stared at the
roof and round at the wails.
"You remember the place, my father? You remember coming up here?"
"What did you say?"
But, before she could repeat the question, he murmured an answer as
if she had repeated it.
"Remember? No, I don't remember. It was so very long ago."
That he had no recollection whatever of his having been brought from
his prison to that house, was apparent to them. They heard him mutter,
"One Hundred and Five, North Tower;" and when he looked about him, it
evidently was for the strong fortress-walls which had long encompassed him.
On their reaching the courtyard he instinctively altered his tread,
as being in expectation of a drawbridge; and when there was no
drawbridge, and he saw the carriage waiting in the open street, he
dropped his daughter's hand and clasped his head again.
No crowd was about the door; no people were discernible at any of the
many windows; not even a chance passerby was in the street. An unnatural
silence and desertion reigned there. Only one soul was to be seen,
and that was Madame Defarge--who leaned against the door-post,
knitting, and saw nothing.
The prisoner had got into a coach, and his daughter had followed him,
when Mr. Lorry's feet were arrested on the step by his asking,
miserably, for his shoemaking tools and the unfinished shoes. Madame
Defarge immediately called to her husband that she would get them,
and went, knitting, out of the lamplight, through the courtyard. She
quickly brought them down and handed them in;--and immediately
afterwards leaned against the door-post, knitting, and saw nothing.
Defarge got upon the box, and gave the word "To the Barrier!"
The postilion cracked his whip, and they clattered away under
the feeble over-swinging lamps.
Under the over-swinging lamps--swinging ever brighter in the better
streets, and ever dimmer in the worse--and by lighted shops, gay
crowds, illuminated coffee-houses, and theatre-doors, to one of the
city gates. Soldiers with lanterns, at the guard-house there.
"Your papers, travellers!" "See here then, Monsieur the Officer,"
said Defarge, getting down, and taking him gravely apart, "these are
the papers of monsieur inside, with the white head. They were
consigned to me, with him, at the--" He dropped his voice, there was
a flutter among the military lanterns, and one of them being handed
into the coach by an arm in uniform, the eyes connected with the arm
looked, not an every day or an every night look, at monsieur with the
white head. "It is well. Forward!" from the uniform. "Adieu!" from
Defarge. And so, under a short grove of feebler and feebler
over-swinging lamps, out under the great grove of stars.
Beneath that arch of unmoved and eternal lights; some, so remote from
this little earth that the learned tell us it is doubtful whether
their rays have even yet discovered it, as a point in space where
anything is suffered or done: the shadows of the night were broad and
black. All through the cold and restless interval, until dawn, they
once more whispered in the ears of Mr. Jarvis Lorry--sitting opposite
the buried man who had been dug out, and wondering what subtle powers
were for ever lost to him, and what were capable of restoration--the
"I hope you care to be recalled to life?"
And the old answer:
"I can't say."
The end of the first book.
Book the Second--the Golden Thread
Five Years Later
Tellson's Bank by Temple Bar was an old-fashioned place, even in the
year one thousand seven hundred and eighty. It was very small, very
dark, very ugly, very incommodious. It was an old-fashioned place,
moreover, in the moral attribute that the partners in the House were
proud of its smallness, proud of its darkness, proud of its ugliness,
proud of its incommodiousness. They were even boastful of its
eminence in those particulars, and were fired by an express conviction
that, if it were less objectionable, it would be less respectable.
This was no passive belief, but an active weapon which they flashed
at more convenient places of business. Tellson's (they said) wanted
no elbow-room, Tellson's wanted no light, Tellson's wanted no
embellishment. Noakes and Co.'s might, or Snooks Brothers' might;
but Tellson's, thank Heaven!--
Any one of these partners would have disinherited his son on the
question of rebuilding Tellson's. In this respect the House was much
on a par with the Country; which did very often disinherit its sons
for suggesting improvements in laws and customs that had long been
highly objectionable, but were only the more respectable.
Thus it had come to pass, that Tellson's was the triumphant
perfection of inconvenience. After bursting open a door of idiotic
obstinacy with a weak rattle in its throat, you fell into Tellson's
down two steps, and came to your senses in a miserable little shop,
with two little counters, where the oldest of men made your cheque
shake as if the wind rustled it, while they examined the signature by
the dingiest of windows, which were always under a shower-bath of mud
from Fleet-street, and which were made the dingier by their own iron
bars proper, and the heavy shadow of Temple Bar. If your business
necessitated your seeing "the House," you were put into a species of
Condemned Hold at the back, where you meditated on a misspent life,
until the House came with its hands in its pockets, and you could
hardly blink at it in the dismal twilight. Your money came out of,
or went into, wormy old wooden drawers, particles of which flew up
your nose and down your throat when they were opened and shut. Your
bank-notes had a musty odour, as if they were fast decomposing into
rags again. Your plate was stowed away among the neighbouring
cesspools, and evil communications corrupted its good polish in a day
or two. Your deeds got into extemporised strong-rooms made of
kitchens and sculleries, and fretted all the fat out of their
parchments into the banking-house air. Your lighter boxes of family
papers went up-stairs into a Barmecide room, that always had a great
dining-table in it and never had a dinner, and where, even in the
year one thousand seven hundred and eighty, the first letters written
to you by your old love, or by your little children, were but newly
released from the horror of being ogled through the windows, by the
heads exposed on Temple Bar with an insensate brutality and ferocity
worthy of Abyssinia or Ashantee.
But indeed, at that time, putting to death was a recipe much in vogue
with all trades and professions, and not least of all with Tellson's.
Death is Nature's remedy for all things, and why not Legislation's?
Accordingly, the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note
was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death;
the purloiner of forty shillings and sixpence was put to Death; the
holder of a horse at Tellson's door, who made off with it, was put to
Death; the coiner of a bad shilling was put to Death; the sounders of
three-fourths of the notes in the whole gamut of Crime, were put to
Death. Not that it did the least good in the way of prevention--it
might almost have been worth remarking that the fact was exactly the
reverse--but, it cleared off (as to this world) the trouble of each
particular case, and left nothing else connected with it to be looked
after. Thus, Tellson's, in its day, like greater places of business,
its contemporaries, had taken so many lives, that, if the heads laid
low before it had been ranged on Temple Bar instead of being
privately disposed of, they would probably have excluded what little
light the ground floor had, in a rather significant manner.
Cramped in all kinds of dun cupboards and hutches at Tellson's, the
oldest of men carried on the business gravely. When they took a
young man into Tellson's London house, they hid him somewhere till he
was old. They kept him in a dark place, like a cheese, until he had
the full Tellson flavour and blue-mould upon him. Then only was he
permitted to be seen, spectacularly poring over large books, and
casting his breeches and gaiters into the general weight of the
Outside Tellson's--never by any means in it, unless called in--was an
odd-job-man, an occasional porter and messenger, who served as the
live sign of the house. He was never absent during business hours,
unless upon an errand, and then he was represented by his son: a
grisly urchin of twelve, who was his express image. People
understood that Tellson's, in a stately way, tolerated the
odd-job-man. The house had always tolerated some person in that
capacity, and time and tide had drifted this person to the post. His
surname was Cruncher, and on the youthful occasion of his renouncing
by proxy the works of darkness, in the easterly parish church of
Hounsditch, he had received the added appellation of Jerry.
The scene was Mr. Cruncher's private lodging in Hanging-sword-alley,
Whitefriars: the time, half-past seven of the clock on a windy March
morning, Anno Domini seventeen hundred and eighty. (Mr. Cruncher
himself always spoke of the year of our Lord as Anna Dominoes:
apparently under the impression that the Christian era dated from the
invention of a popular game, by a lady who had bestowed her name upon it.)
Mr. Cruncher's apartments were not in a savoury neighbourhood, and
were but two in number, even if a closet with a single pane of glass
in it might be counted as one. But they were very decently kept.
Early as it was, on the windy March morning, the room in which he lay
abed was already scrubbed throughout; and between the cups and
saucers arranged for breakfast, and the lumbering deal table, a very
clean white cloth was spread.
Mr. Cruncher reposed under a patchwork counterpane, like a Harlequin
at home. At fast, he slept heavily, but, by degrees, began to roll
and surge in bed, until he rose above the surface, with his spiky
hair looking as if it must tear the sheets to ribbons. At which
juncture, he exclaimed, in a voice of dire exasperation:
"Bust me, if she ain't at it agin!"
A woman of orderly and industrious appearance rose from her knees in
a corner, with sufficient haste and trepidation to show that she was
the person referred to.
"What!" said Mr. Cruncher, looking out of bed for a boot. "You're at
it agin, are you?"
After hailing the mom with this second salutation, he threw a boot at
the woman as a third. It was a very muddy boot, and may introduce
the odd circumstance connected with Mr. Cruncher's domestic economy,
that, whereas he often came home after banking hours with clean
boots, he often got up next morning to find the same boots
covered with clay.
"What," said Mr. Cruncher, varying his apostrophe after missing
his mark--"what are you up to, Aggerawayter?"
"I was only saying my prayers."
"Saying your prayers! You're a nice woman! What do you mean by
flopping yourself down and praying agin me?"
"I was not praying against you; I was praying for you."
"You weren't. And if you were, I won't be took the liberty with.
Here! your mother's a nice woman, young Jerry, going a praying agin
your father's prosperity. You've got a dutiful mother, you have, my
son. You've got a religious mother, you have, my boy: going and
flopping herself down, and praying that the bread-and-butter may be
snatched out of the mouth of her only child."
Master Cruncher (who was in his shirt) took this very ill, and,
turning to his mother, strongly deprecated any praying away of his
"And what do you suppose, you conceited female," said Mr. Cruncher,
with unconscious inconsistency, "that the worth of YOUR prayers may be?
Name the price that you put YOUR prayers at!"
"They only come from the heart, Jerry. They are worth no more than that."
"Worth no more than that," repeated Mr. Cruncher.
"They ain't worth much, then. Whether or no,
I won't be prayed agin, I tell you. I can't afford it.
I'm not a going to be made unlucky by YOUR sneaking.
If you must go flopping yourself down, flop in favour
of your husband and child, and not in opposition to 'em. If I
had had any but a unnat'ral wife, and this poor boy had had any but
a unnat'ral mother, I might have made some money last week instead
of being counter-prayed and countermined and religiously circumwented
into the worst of luck. B-u-u-ust me!" said Mr. Cruncher, who all
this time had been putting on his clothes, "if I ain't, what with
piety and one blowed thing and another, been choused this last week
into as bad luck as ever a poor devil of a honest tradesman met with!
Young Jerry, dress yourself, my boy, and while I clean my boots keep
a eye upon your mother now and then, and if you see any signs of more
flopping, give me a call. For, I tell you," here he addressed his
wife once more, "I won't be gone agin, in this manner. I am as
rickety as a hackney-coach, I'm as sleepy as laudanum, my lines is
strained to that degree that I shouldn't know, if it wasn't for the
pain in 'em, which was me and which somebody else, yet I'm none the
better for it in pocket; and it's my suspicion that you've been at it
from morning to night to prevent me from being the better for it in pocket,
and I won't put up with it, Aggerawayter, and what do you say now!"
Growling, in addition, such phrases as "Ah! yes! You're religious, too.
You wouldn't put yourself in opposition to the interests of your husband
and child, would you? Not you!" and throwing off other sarcastic sparks
from the whirling grindstone of his indignation, Mr. Cruncher betook
himself to his boot-cleaning and his general preparation for business.
In the meantime, his son, whose head was garnished with tenderer spikes,
and whose young eyes stood close by one another, as his father's did,
kept the required watch upon his mother. He greatly disturbed that
poor woman at intervals, by darting out of his sleeping closet,
where he made his toilet, with a suppressed cry of "You are going to flop,
mother. --Halloa, father!" and, after raising this fictitious alarm,
darting in again with an undutiful grin.
Mr. Cruncher's temper was not at all improved when he came to his
breakfast. He resented Mrs. Cruncher's saying grace with particular
"Now, Aggerawayter! What are you up to? At it again?"
His wife explained that she had merely "asked a blessing."
"Don't do it!" said Mr. Crunches looking about, as if he rather
expected to see the loaf disappear under the efficacy of his wife's
petitions. "I ain't a going to be blest out of house and home.
I won't have my wittles blest off my table. Keep still!"
Exceedingly red-eyed and grim, as if he had been up all night at a
party which had taken anything but a convivial turn, Jerry Cruncher
worried his breakfast rather than ate it, growling over it like any
four-footed inmate of a menagerie. Towards nine o'clock he smoothed
his ruffled aspect, and, presenting as respectable and business-like
an exterior as he could overlay his natural self with, issued forth
to the occupation of the day.
It could scarcely be called a trade, in spite of his favourite
description of himself as "a honest tradesman." His stock consisted
of a wooden stool, made out of a broken-backed chair cut down, which
stool, young Jerry, walking at his father's side, carried every
morning to beneath the banking-house window that was nearest Temple
Bar: where, with the addition of the first handful of straw that
could be gleaned from any passing vehicle to keep the cold and wet
from the odd-job-man's feet, it formed the encampment for the day.
On this post of his, Mr. Cruncher was as well known to Fleet-street
and the Temple, as the Bar itself,--and was almost as in-looking.
Encamped at a quarter before nine, in good time to touch his three-
cornered hat to the oldest of men as they passed in to Tellson's,
Jerry took up his station on this windy March morning, with young
Jerry standing by him, when not engaged in making forays through the
Bar, to inflict bodily and mental injuries of an acute description on
passing boys who were small enough for his amiable purpose. Father
and son, extremely like each other, looking silently on at the
morning traffic in Fleet-street, with their two heads as near to one
another as the two eyes of each were, bore a considerable resemblance
to a pair of monkeys. The resemblance was not lessened by the
accidental circumstance, that the mature Jerry bit and spat out
straw, while the twinkling eyes of the youthful Jerry were as
restlessly watchful of him as of everything else in Fleet-street.
The head of one of the regular indoor messengers attached to
Tellson's establishment was put through the door, and the word was
"Hooray, father! Here's an early job to begin with!"
Having thus given his parent God speed, young Jerry seated himself on
the stool, entered on his reversionary interest in the straw his
father had been chewing, and cogitated.
"Al-ways rusty! His fingers is al-ways rusty!" muttered young Jerry.
"Where does my father get all that iron rust from? He don't get no
iron rust here!"
"You know the Old Bailey, well, no doubt?" said one of the oldest of
clerks to Jerry the messenger.
"Ye-es, sir," returned Jerry, in something of a dogged manner. "I
DO know the Bailey."
"Just so. And you know Mr. Lorry."
"I know Mr. Lorry, sir, much better than I know the Bailey. Much
better," said Jerry, not unlike a reluctant witness at the
establishment in question, "than I, as a honest tradesman, wish to
know the Bailey."
"Very well. Find the door where the witnesses go in, and show the
door-keeper this note for Mr. Lorry. He will then let you in."
"Into the court, sir?"
"Into the court."
Mr. Cruncher's eyes seemed to get a little closer to one another, and
to interchange the inquiry, "What do you think of this?"
"Am I to wait in the court, sir?" he asked, as the result of that
"I am going to tell you. The door-keeper will pass the note to Mr.
Lorry, and do you make any gesture that will attract Mr. Lorry's
attention, and show him where you stand. Then what you have to do,
is, to remain there until he wants you."
"Is that all, sir?"
"That's all. He wishes to have a messenger at hand. This is to tell
him you are there."
As the ancient clerk deliberately folded and superscribed the note,
Mr. Cruncher, after surveying him in silence until he came to the
blotting-paper stage, remarked:
"I suppose they'll be trying Forgeries this morning?"
"That's quartering," said Jerry. "Barbarous!"
"It is the law," remarked the ancient clerk, turning his surprised
spectacles upon him. "It is the law."
"It's hard in the law to spile a man, I think. Ifs hard enough to
kill him, but it's wery hard to spile him, sir."
"Not at all," retained the ancient clerk. "Speak well of the law.
Take care of your chest and voice, my good friend, and leave the law
to take care of itself. I give you that advice."
"It's the damp, sir, what settles on my chest and voice," said Jerry.
"I leave you to judge what a damp way of earning a living mine is."
"Well, well," said the old clerk; "we all have our various ways of
gaining a livelihood. Some of us have damp ways, and some of us have
dry ways. Here is the letter. Go along."
Jerry took the letter, and, remarking to himself with less internal
deference than he made an outward show of, "You are a lean old one,
too," made his bow, informed his son, in passing, of his destination,
and went his way.
They hanged at Tyburn, in those days, so the street outside Newgate
had not obtained one infamous notoriety that has since attached to
it. But, the gaol was a vile place, in which most kinds of
debauchery and villainy were practised, and where dire diseases were
bred, that came into court with the prisoners, and sometimes rushed
straight from the dock at my Lord Chief Justice himself, and pulled
him off the bench. It had more than once happened, that the Judge in
the black cap pronounced his own doom as certainly as the prisoner's,
and even died before him. For the rest, the Old Bailey was famous as
a kind of deadly inn-yard, from which pale travellers set out
continually, in carts and coaches, on a violent passage into the
other world: traversing some two miles and a half of public street
and road, and shaming few good citizens, if any. So powerful is use,
and so desirable to be good use in the beginning. It was famous,
too, for the pillory, a wise old institution, that inflicted a
punishment of which no one could foresee the extent; also, for the
whipping-post, another dear old institution, very humanising and
softening to behold in action; also, for extensive transactions in
blood-money, another fragment of ancestral wisdom, systematically
leading to the most frightful mercenary crimes that could be
committed under Heaven. Altogether, the Old Bailey, at that date,
was a choice illustration of the precept, that "Whatever is is right;"
an aphorism that would be as final as it is lazy, did it not include
the troublesome consequence, that nothing that ever was, was wrong.
Making his way through the tainted crowd, dispersed up and down this
hideous scene of action, with the skill of a man accustomed to make
his way quietly, the messenger found out the door he sought, and
handed in his letter through a trap in it. For, people then paid to
see the play at the Old Bailey, just as they paid to see the play in
Bedlam--only the former entertainment was much the dearer. Therefore,
all the Old Bailey doors were well guarded--except, indeed, the
social doors by which the criminals got there, and those were always
left wide open.
After some delay and demur, the door grudgingly turned on its hinges
a very little way, and allowed Mr. Jerry Cruncher to squeeze himself
"What's on?" he asked, in a whisper, of the man he found himself next to.
"What's coming on?"
"The Treason case."
"The quartering one, eh?"
"Ah!" returned the man, with a relish; "he'll be drawn on a hurdle
to be half hanged, and then he'll be taken down and sliced before
his own face, and then his inside will be taken out and burnt while
he looks on, and then his head will be chopped off, and he'll be
cut into quarters. That's the sentence."
"If he's found Guilty, you mean to say?" Jerry added, by way of proviso.
"Oh! they'll find him guilty," said the other. "Don't you be afraid of that."
Mr. Cruncher's attention was here diverted to the door-keeper, whom
he saw making his way to Mr. Lorry, with the note in his hand. Mr.
Lorry sat at a table, among the gentlemen in wigs: not far from a
wigged gentleman, the prisoner's counsel, who had a great bundle of
papers before him: and nearly opposite another wigged gentleman with
his hands in his pockets, whose whole attention, when Mr. Cruncher
looked at him then or afterwards, seemed to be concentrated on the
ceiling of the court. After some gruff coughing and rubbing of his
chin and signing with his hand, Jerry attracted the notice of
Mr. Lorry, who had stood up to look for him, and who quietly nodded
and sat down again.
"What's HE got to do with the case?" asked the man he had spoken with.
"Blest if I know," said Jerry.
"What have YOU got to do with it, then, if a person may inquire?"
"Blest if I know that either," said Jerry.
The entrance of the Judge, and a consequent great stir and settling
down in the court, stopped the dialogue. Presently, the dock became
the central point of interest. Two gaolers, who had been standing
there, wont out, and the prisoner was brought in, and put to the bar.
Everybody present, except the one wigged gentleman who looked at the
ceiling, stared at him. All the human breath in the place, rolled at
him, like a sea, or a wind, or a fire. Eager faces strained round
pillars and corners, to get a sight of him; spectators in back rows
stood up, not to miss a hair of him; people on the floor of the
court, laid their hands on the shoulders of the people before them,
to help themselves, at anybody's cost, to a view of him--stood
a-tiptoe, got upon ledges, stood upon next to nothing, to see every
inch of him. Conspicuous among these latter, like an animated bit of
the spiked wall of Newgate, Jerry stood: aiming at the prisoner the
beery breath of a whet he had taken as he came along, and discharging
it to mingle with the waves of other beer, and gin, and tea, and
coffee, and what not, that flowed at him, and already broke upon the
great windows behind him in an impure mist and rain.
The object of all this staring and blaring, was a young man of about
five-and-twenty, well-grown and well-looking, with a sunburnt cheek
and a dark eye. His condition was that of a young gentleman. He was
plainly dressed in black, or very dark grey, and his hair, which was
long and dark, was gathered in a ribbon at the back of his neck; more
to be out of his way than for ornament. As an emotion of the mind
will express itself through any covering of the body, so the paleness
which his situation engendered came through the brown upon his cheek,
showing the soul to be stronger than the sun. He was otherwise quite
self-possessed, bowed to the Judge, and stood quiet.
The sort of interest with which this man was stared and breathed at,
was not a sort that elevated humanity. Had he stood in peril of a
less horrible sentence--had there been a chance of any one of its
savage details being spared--by just so much would he have lost in
his fascination. The form that was to be doomed to be so shamefully
mangled, was the sight; the immortal creature that was to be so
butchered and torn asunder, yielded the sensation. Whatever gloss
the various spectators put upon the interest, according to their
several arts and powers of self-deceit, the interest was, at the
root of it, Ogreish.
Silence in the court! Charles Darnay had yesterday pleaded Not Guilty
to an indictment denouncing him (with infinite jingle and jangle) for
that he was a false traitor to our serene, illustrious, excellent,
and so forth, prince, our Lord the King, by reason of his having, on
divers occasions, and by divers means and ways, assisted Lewis, the
French King, in his wars against our said serene, illustrious,
excellent, and so forth; that was to say, by coming and going,
between the dominions of our said serene, illustrious, excellent, and
so forth, and those of the said French Lewis, and wickedly, falsely,
traitorously, and otherwise evil-adverbiously, revealing to the said
French Lewis what forces our said serene, illustrious, excellent, and
so forth, had in preparation to send to Canada and North America.
This much, Jerry, with his head becoming more and more spiky as the
law terms bristled it, made out with huge satisfaction, and so
arrived circuitously at the understanding that the aforesaid, and
over and over again aforesaid, Charles Darnay, stood there before him
upon his trial; that the jury were swearing in; and that
Mr. Attorney-General was making ready to speak.
The accused, who was (and who knew he was) being mentally hanged,
beheaded, and quartered, by everybody there, neither flinched from
the situation, nor assumed any theatrical air in it. He was quiet
and attentive; watched the opening proceedings with a grave interest;
and stood with his hands resting on the slab of wood before him, so
composedly, that they had not displaced a leaf of the herbs with
which it was strewn. The court was all bestrewn with herbs and
sprinkled with vinegar, as a precaution against gaol air and gaol
Over the prisoner's head there was a mirror, to throw the light down
upon him. Crowds of the wicked and the wretched had been reflected
in it, and had passed from its surface and this earth's together.
Haunted in a most ghastly manner that abominable place would have
been, if the glass could ever have rendered back its reflections, as
the ocean is one day to give up its dead. Some passing thought of
the infamy and disgrace for which it had been reserved, may have
struck the prisoner's mind. Be that as it may, a change in his
position making him conscious of a bar of light across his face, he
looked up; and when he saw the glass his face flushed, and his right
hand pushed the herbs away.
It happened, that the action turned his face to that side of the
court which was on his left. About on a level with his eyes, there
sat, in that corner of the Judge's bench, two persons upon whom his look
immediately rested; so immediately, and so much to the changing of his aspect,
that all the eyes that were tamed upon him, turned to them.
The spectators saw in the two figures, a young lady of little more
than twenty, and a gentleman who was evidently her father; a man of
a very remarkable appearance in respect of the absolute whiteness
of his hair, and a certain indescribable intensity of face: not of
an active kind, but pondering and self-communing. When this expression
was upon him, he looked as if he were old; but when it was stirred
and broken up--as it was now, in a moment, on his speaking to his
daughter--he became a handsome man, not past the prime of life.
His daughter had one of her hands drawn through his arm, as she sat
by him, and the other pressed upon it. She had drawn close to him,
in her dread of the scene, and in her pity for the prisoner. Her
forehead had been strikingly expressive of an engrossing terror and
compassion that saw nothing but the peril of the accused. This had
been so very noticeable, so very powerfully and naturally shown, that
starers who had had no pity for him were touched by her; and the
whisper went about, "Who are they?"
Jerry, the messenger, who had made his own observations, in his own
manner, and who had been sucking the rust off his fingers in his
absorption, stretched his neck to hear who they were. The crowd
about him had pressed and passed the inquiry on to the nearest
attendant, and from him it had been more slowly pressed and passed
back; at last it got to Jerry:
"For which side?"
"Against what side?"
The Judge, whose eyes had gone in the general direction, recalled
them, leaned back in his seat, and looked steadily at the man whose
life was in his hand, as Mr. Attorney-General rose to spin the rope,
grind the axe, and hammer the nails into the scaffold.
Mr. Attorney-General had to inform the jury, that the prisoner before
them, though young in years, was old in the treasonable practices
which claimed the forfeit of his life. That this correspondence with
the public enemy was not a correspondence of to-day, or of yesterday,
or even of last year, or of the year before. That, it was certain
the prisoner had, for longer than that, been in the habit of passing
and repassing between France and England, on secret business of which
he could give no honest account. That, if it were in the nature of
traitorous ways to thrive (which happily it never was), the real
wickedness and guilt of his business might have remained undiscovered.
That Providence, however, had put it into the heart of a person who
was beyond fear and beyond reproach, to ferret out the nature of the
prisoner's schemes, and, struck with horror, to disclose them to his
Majesty's Chief Secretary of State and most honourable Privy Council.
That, this patriot would be produced before them. That, his position
and attitude were, on the whole, sublime. That, he had been the
prisoner's friend, but, at once in an auspicious and an evil hour
detecting his infamy, had resolved to immolate the traitor he could
no longer cherish in his bosom, on the sacred altar of his country.
That, if statues were decreed in Britain, as in ancient Greece and
Rome, to public benefactors, this shining citizen would assuredly
have had one. That, as they were not so decreed, he probably would
not have one. That, Virtue, as had been observed by the poets (in
many passages which he well knew the jury would have, word for word,
at the tips of their tongues; whereat the jury's countenances
displayed a guilty consciousness that they knew nothing about the
passages), was in a manner contagious; more especially the bright
virtue known as patriotism, or love of country. That, the lofty
example of this immaculate and unimpeachable witness for the Crown,
to refer to whom however unworthily was an honour, had communicated
itself to the prisoner's servant, and had engendered in him a holy
determination to examine his master's table-drawers and pockets, and
secrete his papers. That, he (Mr. Attorney-General) was prepared to
hear some disparagement attempted of this admirable servant; but that,
in a general way, he preferred him to his (Mr. Attorney-General's)
brothers and sisters, and honoured him more than his
(Mr. Attorney-General's) father and mother. That, he called with
confidence on the jury to come and do likewise. That, the evidence
of these two witnesses, coupled with the documents of their
discovering that would be produced, would show the prisoner to have
been furnished with lists of his Majesty's forces, and of their
disposition and preparation, both by sea and land, and would leave no
doubt that he had habitually conveyed such information to a hostile
power. That, these lists could not be proved to be in the prisoner's
handwriting; but that it was all the same; that, indeed, it was
rather the better for the prosecution, as showing the prisoner to be
artful in his precautions. That, the proof would go back five years,
and would show the prisoner already engaged in these pernicious
missions, within a few weeks before the date of the very first action
fought between the British troops and the Americans. That, for these
reasons, the jury, being a loyal jury (as he knew they were), and
being a responsible jury (as THEY knew they were), must positively
find the prisoner Guilty, and make an end of him, whether they liked
it or not. That, they never could lay their heads upon their pillows;
that, they never could tolerate the idea of their wives laying their
heads upon their pillows; that, they never could endure the notion of
their children laying their heads upon their pillows; in short, that
there never more could be, for them or theirs, any laying of heads
upon pillows at all, unless the prisoner's head was taken off. That
head Mr. Attorney-General concluded by demanding of them, in the name
of everything he could think of with a round turn in it, and on the
faith of his solemn asseveration that he already considered the
prisoner as good as dead and gone.
When the Attorney-General ceased, a buzz arose in the court as if
a cloud of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in
anticipation of what he was soon to become. When toned down again,
the unimpeachable patriot appeared in the witness-box.
Mr. Solicitor-General then, following his leader's lead, examined
the patriot: John Barsad, gentleman, by name. The story of his pure
soul was exactly what Mr. Attorney-General had described it to be--
perhaps, if it had a fault, a little too exactly. Having released
his noble bosom of its burden, he would have modestly withdrawn
himself, but that the wigged gentleman with the papers before him,
sitting not far from Mr. Lorry, begged to ask him a few questions.
The wigged gentleman sitting opposite, still looking at the ceiling
of the court.
Had he ever been a spy himself? No, he scorned the base insinuation.
What did he live upon? His property. Where was his property?
He didn't precisely remember where it was. What was it? No business
of anybody's. Had he inherited it? Yes, he had. From whom? Distant
relation. Very distant? Rather. Ever been in prison? Certainly not.
Never in a debtors' prison? Didn't see what that had to do with it.
Never in a debtors' prison?--Come, once again. Never? Yes. How many
times? Two or three times. Not five or six? Perhaps. Of what profession?
Gentleman. Ever been kicked? Might have been. Frequently? No.
Ever kicked downstairs? Decidedly not; once received a kick on the
top of a staircase, and fell downstairs of his own accord. Kicked on
that occasion for cheating at dice? Something to that effect was said
by the intoxicated liar who committed the assault, but it was not
true. Swear it was not true? Positively. Ever live by cheating at
play? Never. Ever live by play? Not more than other gentlemen do.
Ever borrow money of the prisoner? Yes. Ever pay him? No. Was not
this intimacy with the prisoner, in reality a very slight one, forced
upon the prisoner in coaches, inns, and packets? No. Sure he saw
the prisoner with these lists? Certain. Knew no more about the
lists? No. Had not procured them himself, for instance? No. Expect
to get anything by this evidence? No. Not in regular government pay
and employment, to lay traps? Oh dear no. Or to do anything? Oh dear no.
Swear that? Over and over again. No motives but motives of sheer patriotism?
The virtuous servant, Roger Cly, swore his way through the case at a
great rate. He had taken service with the prisoner, in good faith
and simplicity, four years ago. He had asked the prisoner, aboard
the Calais packet, if he wanted a handy fellow, and the prisoner had
engaged him. He had not asked the prisoner to take the handy fellow
as an act of charity--never thought of such a thing. He began to
have suspicions of the prisoner, and to keep an eye upon him, soon
afterwards. In arranging his clothes, while travelling, he had seen
similar lists to these in the prisoner's pockets, over and over again.
He had taken these lists from the drawer of the prisoner's desk.
He had not put them there first. He had seen the prisoner show these
identical lists to French gentlemen at Calais, and similar lists to
French gentlemen, both at Calais and Boulogne. He loved his country,
and couldn't bear it, and had given information. He had never been
suspected of stealing a silver tea-pot; he had been maligned respecting
a mustard-pot, but it turned out to be only a plated one. He had
known the last witness seven or eight years; that was merely a
coincidence. He didn't call it a particularly curious coincidence;
most coincidences were curious. Neither did he call it a curious
coincidence that true patriotism was HIS only motive too. He was a
true Briton, and hoped there were many like him.
The blue-flies buzzed again, and Mr. Attorney-General called Mr. Jarvis Lorry.
"Mr. Jarvis Lorry, are you a clerk in Tellson's bank?"
"On a certain Friday night in November one thousand seven hundred and
seventy-five, did business occasion you to travel between London and
Dover by the mail?"
"Were there any other passengers in the mail?"
"Did they alight on the road in the course of the night?"
"Mr. Lorry, look upon the prisoner. Was he one of those two passengers?"
"I cannot undertake to say that he was."
"Does he resemble either of these two passengers?"
"Both were so wrapped up, and the night was so dark, and we were all
so reserved, that I cannot undertake to say even that."
"Mr. Lorry, look again upon the prisoner. Supposing him wrapped up
as those two passengers were, is there anything in his bulk and
stature to render it unlikely that he was one of them?"
"You will not swear, Mr. Lorry, that he was not one of them?"
"So at least you say he may have been one of them?"
"Yes. Except that I remember them both to have been--like myself--
timorous of highwaymen, and the prisoner has not a timorous air."
"Did you ever see a counterfeit of timidity, Mr. Lorry?"
"I certainly have seen that."
"Mr. Lorry, look once more upon the prisoner. Have you seen him,
to your certain knowledge, before?"
"I was returning from France a few days afterwards, and, at Calais,
the prisoner came on board the packet-ship in which I returned, and
made the voyage with me."
"At what hour did he come on board?"
"At a little after midnight."
"In the dead of the night. Was he the only passenger who came on
board at that untimely hour?"
"He happened to be the only one."
"Never mind about `happening,' Mr. Lorry. He was the only passenger
who came on board in the dead of the night?"
"Were you travelling alone, Mr. Lorry, or with any companion?"
"With two companions. A gentleman and lady. They are here."
"They are here. Had you any conversation with the prisoner?"
"Hardly any. The weather was stormy, and the passage long and rough,
and I lay on a sofa, almost from shore to shore."
The young lady, to whom all eyes had been turned before, and were now
turned again, stood up where she had sat. Her father rose with her,
and kept her hand drawn through his arm.
"Miss Manette, look upon the prisoner."
To be confronted with such pity, and such earnest youth and beauty,
was far more trying to the accused than to be confronted with all the
crowd. Standing, as it were, apart with her on the edge of his grave,
not all the staring curiosity that looked on, could, for the moment,
nerve him to remain quite still. His hurried right hand parcelled
out the herbs before him into imaginary beds of flowers in a garden;
and his efforts to control and steady his breathing shook the lips
from which the colour rushed to his heart. The buzz of the great
flies was loud again.
"Miss Manette, have you seen the prisoner before?"
"On board of the packet-ship just now referred to, sir, and on the
"You are the young lady just now referred to?"
"O! most unhappily, I am!"
The plaintive tone of her compassion merged into the less musical
voice of the Judge, as he said something fiercely:
"Answer the questions put to you, and make no remark upon them."
"Miss Manette, had you any conversation with the prisoner on that
passage across the Channel?"
In the midst of a profound stillness, she faintly began: "When the
gentleman came on board--"
"Do you mean the prisoner?" inquired the Judge, knitting his brows.
"Yes, my Lord."
"Then say the prisoner."
"When the prisoner came on board, he noticed that my father," turning
her eyes lovingly to him as he stood beside her, "was much fatigued
and in a very weak state of health. My father was so reduced that I
was afraid to take him out of the air, and I had made a bed for him
on the deck near the cabin steps, and I sat on the deck at his side
to take care of him. There were no other passengers that night, but
we four. The prisoner was so good as to beg permission to advise me
how I could shelter my father from the wind and weather, better than
I had done. I had not known how to do it well, not understanding how
the wind would set when we were out of the harbour. He did it for me.
He expressed great gentleness and kindness for my father's state, and
I am sure he felt it. That was the manner of our beginning to speak
"Let me interrupt you for a moment. Had he come on board alone?"
"How many were with him?"
"Two French gentlemen."
"Had they conferred together?"
"They had conferred together until the last moment, when it was
necessary for the French gentlemen to be landed in their boat."
"Had any papers been handed about among them, similar to these lists?"
"Some papers had been handed about among them, but I don't know what
"Like these in shape and size?"
"Possibly, but indeed I don't know, although they stood whispering
very near to me: because they stood at the top of the cabin steps to
have the light of the lamp that was hanging there; it was a dull lamp,
and they spoke very low, and I did not hear what they said, and saw
only that they looked at papers."
"Now, to the prisoner's conversation, Miss Manette."
"The prisoner was as open in his confidence with me--which arose out
of my helpless situation--as he was kind, and good, and useful to my
father. I hope," bursting into tears, "I may not repay him by doing
him harm to-day."
Buzzing from the blue-flies.
"Miss Manette, if the prisoner does not perfectly understand that you
give the evidence which it is your duty to give--which you must give--
and which you cannot escape from giving--with great unwillingness,
he is the only person present in that condition. Please to go on."
"He told me that he was travelling on business of a delicate and
difficult nature, which might get people into trouble, and that he
was therefore travelling under an assumed name. He said that this
business had, within a few days, taken him to France, and might,
at intervals, take him backwards and forwards between France and
England for a long time to come."
"Did he say anything about America, Miss Manette? Be particular."
"He tried to explain to me how that quarrel had arisen, and he said that,
so far as he could judge, it was a wrong and foolish one on England's
part. He added, in a jesting way, that perhaps George Washington
might gain almost as great a name in history as George the Third.
But there was no harm in his way of saying this: it was said laughingly,
and to beguile the time."
Any strongly marked expression of face on the part of a chief actor
in a scene of great interest to whom many eyes are directed, will be
unconsciously imitated by the spectators. Her forehead was painfully
anxious and intent as she gave this evidence, and, in the pauses when
she stopped for the Judge to write it down, watched its effect upon
the counsel for and against. Among the lookers-on there was the same
expression in all quarters of the court; insomuch, that a great
majority of the foreheads there, might have been mirrors reflecting
the witness, when the Judge looked up from his notes to glare at that
tremendous heresy about George Washington.
Mr. Attorney-General now signified to my Lord, that he deemed it
necessary, as a matter of precaution and form, to call the young
lady's father, Doctor Manette. Who was called accordingly.
"Doctor Manette, look upon the prisoner. Have you ever seen him before?"
"Once. When he caged at my lodgings in London. Some three years, or
three years and a half ago."
"Can you identify him as your fellow-passenger on board the packet,
or speak to his conversation with your daughter?"
"Sir, I can do neither."
"Is there any particular and special reason for your being unable to
He answered, in a low voice, "There is."
"Has it been your misfortune to undergo a long imprisonment, without
trial, or even accusation, in your native country, Doctor Manette?"
He answered, in a tone that went to every heart, "A long imprisonment."
"Were you newly released on the occasion in question?"
"They tell me so."
"Have you no remembrance of the occasion?"
"None. My mind is a blank, from some time--I cannot even say what time--
when I employed myself, in my captivity, in making shoes,
to the time when I found myself living in London with my dear
daughter here. She had become familiar to me, when a gracious God
restored my faculties; but, I am quite unable even to say how she
had become familiar. I have no remembrance of the process."
Mr. Attorney-General sat down, and the father and daughter sat down together.
A singular circumstance then arose in the case. The object in hand
being to show that the prisoner went down, with some fellow-plotter
untracked, in the Dover mail on that Friday night in November five
years ago, and got out of the mail in the night, as a blind, at a
place where he did not remain, but from which he travelled back some
dozen miles or more, to a garrison and dockyard, and there collected
information; a witness was called to identify him as having been at
the precise time required, in the coffee-room of an hotel in that
garrison-and-dockyard town, waiting for another person. The prisoner's
counsel was cross-examining this witness with no result, except that
he had never seen the prisoner on any other occasion, when the wigged
gentleman who had all this time been looking at the ceiling of the
court, wrote a word or two on a little piece of paper, screwed it up,
and tossed it to him. Opening this piece of paper in the next pause,
the counsel looked with great attention and curiosity at the prisoner.
"You say again you are quite sure that it was the prisoner?"
The witness was quite sure.
"Did you ever see anybody very like the prisoner?"
Not so like (the witness said) as that he could be mistaken.
"Look well upon that gentleman, my learned friend there," pointing to
him who had tossed the paper over, "and then look well upon the prisoner.
How say you? Are they very like each other?"
Allowing for my learned friend's appearance being careless and
slovenly if not debauched, they were sufficiently like each other to
surprise, not only the witness, but everybody present, when they were
thus brought into comparison. My Lord being prayed to bid my learned
friend lay aside his wig, and giving no very gracious consent, the
likeness became much more remarkable. My Lord inquired of Mr. Stryver
(the prisoner's counsel), whether they were next to try Mr. Carton
(name of my learned friend) for treason? But, Mr. Stryver replied to
my Lord, no; but he would ask the witness to tell him whether what
happened once, might happen twice; whether he would have been so
confident if he had seen this illustration of his rashness sooner,
whether he would be so confident, having seen it; and more.
The upshot of which, was, to smash this witness like a crockery vessel,
and shiver his part of the case to useless lumber.
Mr. Cruncher had by this time taken quite a lunch of rust off his
fingers in his following of the evidence. He had now to attend while
Mr. Stryver fitted the prisoner's case on the jury, like a compact
suit of clothes; showing them how the patriot, Barsad, was a hired spy
and traitor, an unblushing trafficker in blood, and one of the greatest
scoundrels upon earth since accursed Judas--which he certainly did
look rather like. How the virtuous servant, Cly, was his friend and
partner, and was worthy to be; how the watchful eyes of those forgers
and false swearers had rested on the prisoner as a victim, because
some family affairs in France, he being of French extraction, did
require his making those passages across the Channel--though what
those affairs were, a consideration for others who were near and dear
to him, forbade him, even for his life, to disclose. How the evidence
that had been warped and wrested from the young lady, whose anguish in
giving it they had witnessed, came to nothing, involving the mere
little innocent gallantries and politenesses likely to pass between
any young gentleman and young lady so thrown together;--with the
exception of that reference to George Washington, which was altogether
too extravagant and impossible to be regarded in any other light than
as a monstrous joke. How it would be a weakness in the government to
break down in this attempt to practise for popularity on the lowest
national antipathies and fears, and therefore Mr. Attorney-General had
made the most of it; how, nevertheless, it rested upon nothing, save
that vile and infamous character of evidence too often disfiguring
such cases, and of which the State Trials of this country were full.
But, there my Lord interposed (with as grave a face as if it had not
been true), saying that he could not sit upon that Bench and suffer
Mr. Stryver then called his few witnesses, and Mr. Cruncher had next
to attend while Mr. Attorney-General turned the whole suit of clothes
Mr. Stryver had fitted on the jury, inside out; showing how Barsad and
Cly were even a hundred times better than he had thought them, and the
prisoner a hundred times worse. Lastly, came my Lord himself, turning
the suit of clothes, now inside out, now outside in, but on the whole
decidedly trimming and shaping them into grave-clothes for the
And now, the jury turned to consider, and the great flies swarmed again.
Mr. Carton, who had so long sat looking at the ceiling of the court,
changed neither his place nor his attitude, even in this excitement.
While his teamed friend, Mr. Stryver, massing his papers before him,
whispered with those who sat near, and from time to time glanced
anxiously at the jury; while all the spectators moved more or less,
and grouped themselves anew; while even my Lord himself arose from his
seat, and slowly paced up and down his platform, not unattended by a
suspicion in the minds of the audience that his state was feverish;
this one man sat leaning back, with his torn gown half off him, his
untidy wig put on just as it had happened to fight on his head after
its removal, his hands in his pockets, and his eyes on the ceiling as
they had been all day. Something especially reckless in his demeanour,
not only gave him a disreputable look, but so diminished the strong
resemblance he undoubtedly bore to the prisoner (which his momentary
earnestness, when they were compared together, had strengthened),
that many of the lookers-on, taking note of him now, said to one
another they would hardly have thought the two were so alike.
Mr. Cruncher made the observation to his next neighbour, and added,
"I'd hold half a guinea that HE don't get no law-work to do.
Don't look like the sort of one to get any, do he?"
Yet, this Mr. Carton took in more of the details of the scene than he
appeared to take in; for now, when Miss Manette's head dropped upon
her father's breast, he was the first to see it, and to say audibly:
"Officer! look to that young lady. Help the gentleman to take her out.
Don't you see she will fall!"
There was much commiseration for her as she was removed, and much
sympathy with her father. It had evidently been a great distress to
him, to have the days of his imprisonment recalled. He had shown
strong internal agitation when he was questioned, and that pondering
or brooding look which made him old, had been upon him, like a heavy
cloud, ever since. As he passed out, the jury, who had turned back
and paused a moment, spoke, through their foreman.
They were not agreed, and wished to retire. My Lord (perhaps with
George Washington on his mind) showed some surprise that they were not
agreed, but signified his pleasure that they should retire under watch
and ward, and retired himself. The trial had lasted all day, and the
lamps in the court were now being lighted. It began to be rumoured
that the jury would be out a long while. The spectators dropped off
to get refreshment, and the prisoner withdrew to the back of the dock,
and sat down.
Mr. Lorry, who had gone out when the young lady and her father went out,
now reappeared, and beckoned to Jerry: who, in the slackened interest,
could easily get near him.
"Jerry, if you wish to take something to eat, you can. But, keep in
the way. You will be sure to hear when the jury come in. Don't be a
moment behind them, for I want you to take the verdict back to the bank.
You are the quickest messenger I know, and will get to Temple Bar long
before I can."
Jerry had just enough forehead to knuckle, and he knuckled it in
acknowedgment of this communication and a shilling. Mr. Carton came
up at the moment, and touched Mr. Lorry on the arm.
"How is the young lady?"
"She is greatly distressed; but her father is comforting her, and she
feels the better for being out of court."
"I'll tell the prisoner so. It won't do for a respectable bank
gentleman like you, to be seen speaking to him publicly, you know."
Mr. Lorry reddened as if he were conscious of having debated the point
in his mind, and Mr. Carton made his way to the outside of the bar.
The way out of court lay in that direction, and Jerry followed him,
all eyes, ears, and spikes.
The prisoner came forward directly.
"You will naturally be anxious to hear of the witness, Miss Manette.
She will do very well. You have seen the worst of her agitation."
"I am deeply sorry to have been the cause of it. Could you tell her
so for me, with my fervent acknowledgments?"
"Yes, I could. I will, if you ask it."
Mr. Carton's manner was so careless as to be almost insolent. He stood,
half turned from the prisoner, lounging with his elbow against the bar.
"I do ask it. Accept my cordial thanks."
"What," said Carton, still only half turned towards him, "do you
expect, Mr. Darnay?"
"It's the wisest thing to expect, and the likeliest. But I think
their withdrawing is in your favour."
Loitering on the way out of court not being allowed, Jerry heard no
more: but left them--so like each other in feature, so unlike each
other in manner--standing side by side, both reflected in the glass
An hour and a half limped heavily away in the thief-and-rascal crowded
passages below, even though assisted off with mutton pies and ale.
The hoarse messenger, uncomfortably seated on a form after taking that
refection, had dropped into a doze, when a loud murmur and a rapid
tide of people setting up the stairs that led to the court, carried
him along with them.
"Jerry! Jerry!" Mr. Lorry was already calling at the door when
he got there.
"Here, sir! It's a fight to get back again. Here I am, sir!"
Mr. Lorry handed him a paper through the throng.
"Quick! Have you got it?"
Hastily written on the paper was the word "AQUITTED."
"If you had sent the message, `Recalled to Life,' again," muttered
Jerry, as he turned, "I should have known what you meant, this time."
He had no opportunity of saying, or so much as thinking, anything
else, until he was clear of the Old Bailey; for, the crowd came
pouring out with a vehemence that nearly took him off his legs, and a
loud buzz swept into the street as if the baffled blue-flies were
dispersing in search of other carrion.
From the dimly-lighted passages of the court, the last sediment of the
human stew that had been boiling there all day, was straining off,
when Doctor Manette, Lucie Manette, his daughter, Mr. Lorry, the
solicitor for the defence, and its counsel, Mr. Stryver, stood
gathered round Mr. Charles Darnay--just released--congratulating him
on his escape from death.
It would have been difficult by a far brighter light, to recognise in
Doctor Manette, intellectual of face and upright of bearing, the
shoemaker of the garret in Paris. Yet, no one could have looked at
him twice, without looking again: even though the opportunity of
observation had not extended to the mournful cadence of his low grave
voice, and to the abstraction that overclouded him fitfully, without
any apparent reason. While one external cause, and that a reference
to his long lingering agony, would always--as on the trial--evoke this
condition from the depths of his soul, it was also in its nature to
arise of itself, and to draw a gloom over him, as incomprehensible to
those unacquainted with his story as if they had seen the shadow of
the actual Bastille thrown upon him by a summer sun, when the
substance was three hundred miles away.
Only his daughter had the power of charming this black brooding from
his mind. She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond
his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her
voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong
beneficial influence with him almost always. Not absolutely always,
for she could recall some occasions on which her power had failed;
but they were few and slight, and she believed them over.
Mr. Darnay had kissed her hand fervently and gratefully, and had
turned to Mr. Stryver, whom he warmly thanked. Mr. Stryver, a man of
little more than thirty, but looking twenty years older than he was,
stout, loud, red, bluff, and free from any drawback of delicacy,
had a pushing way of shouldering himself (morally and physically)
into companies and conversations, that argued well for his shouldering
his way up in life.
He still had his wig and gown on, and he said, squaring himself at his
late client to that degree that he squeezed the innocent Mr. Lorry
clean out of the group: "I am glad to have brought you off with honour,
Mr. Darnay. It was an infamous prosecution, grossly infamous;
but not the less likely to succeed on that account."
"You have laid me under an obligation to you for life--in two senses,"
said his late client, taking his hand.
"I have done my best for you, Mr. Darnay; and my best is as good as
another man's, I believe."
It clearly being incumbent on some one to say, "Much better," Mr. Lorry
said it; perhaps not quite disinterestedly, but with the interested
object of squeezing himself back again.
"You think so?" said Mr. Stryver. "Well! you have been present all day,
and you ought to know. You are a man of business, too."
"And as such," quoth Mr. Lorry, whom the counsel learned in the law
had now shouldered back into the group, just as he had previously
shouldered him out of it--"as such I will appeal to Doctor Manette,
to break up this conference and order us all to our homes.
Miss Lucie looks ill, Mr. Darnay has had a terrible day, we are worn out."
"Speak for yourself, Mr. Lorry," said Stryver; "I have a night's work
to do yet. Speak for yourself."
"I speak for myself," answered Mr. Lorry, "and for Mr. Darnay, and for
Miss Lucie, and--Miss Lucie, do you not think I may speak for us all?"
He asked her the question pointedly, and with a glance at her father.
His face had become frozen, as it were, in a very curious look at
Darnay: an intent look, deepening into a frown of dislike and distrust,
not even unmixed with fear. With this strange expression on him his
thoughts had wandered away.
"My father," said Lucie, softly laying her hand on his.
He slowly shook the shadow off, and turned to her.
"Shall we go home, my father?"
With a long breath, he answered "Yes."
The friends of the acquitted prisoner had dispersed, under the
impression--which he himself had originated--that he would not be
released that night. The lights were nearly all extinguished in the
passages, the iron gates were being closed with a jar and a rattle,
and the dismal place was deserted until to-morrow morning's interest
of gallows, pillory, whipping-post, and branding-iron, should repeople
it. Walking between her father and Mr. Darnay, Lucie Manette passed
into the open air. A hackney-coach was called, and the father and
daughter departed in it.
Mr. Stryver had left them in the passages, to shoulder his way back
to the robing-room. Another person, who had not joined the group,
or interchanged a word with any one of them, but who had been leaning
against the wall where its shadow was darkest, had silently strolled
out after the rest, and had looked on until the coach drove away.
He now stepped up to where Mr. Lorry and Mr. Darnay stood upon the
"So, Mr. Lorry! Men of business may speak to Mr. Darnay now?"
Nobody had made any acknowledgment of Mr. Carton's part in the day's
proceedings; nobody had known of it. He was unrobed, and was none
the better for it in appearance.
"If you knew what a conflict goes on in the business mind, when the
business mind is divided between good-natured impulse and business
appearances, you would be amused, Mr. Darnay."
Mr. Lorry reddened, and said, warmly, "You have mentioned that before,
sir. We men of business, who serve a House, are not our own masters.
We have to think of the House more than ourselves."
"_I_ know, _I_ know," rejoined Mr. Carton, carelessly. "Don't be
nettled, Mr. Lorry. You are as good as another, I have no doubt:
better, I dare say."
"And indeed, sir," pursued Mr. Lorry, not minding him, "I really
don't know what you have to do with the matter. If you'll excuse me,
as very much your elder, for saying so, I really don't know that it is
"Business! Bless you, _I_ have no business," said Mr. Carton.
"It is a pity you have not, sir."
"I think so, too."
"If you had," pursued Mr. Lorry, "perhaps you would attend to it."
"Lord love you, no!--I shouldn't," said Mr. Carton.
"Well, sir!" cried Mr. Lorry, thoroughly heated by his indifference,
"business is a very good thing, and a very respectable thing. And, sir,
if business imposes its restraints and its silences and impediments,
Mr. Darnay as a young gentleman of generosity knows how to make allowance
for that circumstance. Mr. Darnay, good night, God bless you, sir!
I hope you have been this day preserved for a prosperous and happy
Perhaps a little angry with himself, as well as with the barrister,
Mr. Lorry bustled into the chair, and was carried off to Tellson's.
Carton, who smelt of port wine, and did not appear to be quite sober,
laughed then, and turned to Darnay:
"This is a strange chance that throws you and me together. This must
be a strange night to you, standing alone here with your counterpart
on these street stones?"
"I hardly seem yet," returned Charles Darnay, "to belong to this world
"I don't wonder at it; it's not so long since you were pretty far
advanced on your way to another. You speak faintly."
"I begin to think I AM faint."
"Then why the devil don't you dine? I dined, myself, while those
numskulls were deliberating which world you should belong to--this,
or some other. Let me show you the nearest tavern to dine well at."
Drawing his arm through his own, he took him down Ludgate-hill to
Fleet-street, and so, up a covered way, into a tavern. Here, they
were shown into a little room, where Charles Darnay was soon recruiting
his strength with a good plain dinner and good wine: while Carton sat
opposite to him at the same table, with his separate bottle of port
before him, and his fully half-insolent manner upon him.
"Do you feel, yet, that you belong to this terrestrial scheme again,
"I am frightfully confused regarding time and place; but I am so far
mended as to feel that."
"It must be an immense satisfaction!"
He said it bitterly, and filled up his glass again: which was a large one.
"As to me, the greatest desire I have, is to forget that I belong to
it. It has no good in it for me--except wine like this--nor I for it.
So we are not much alike in that particular. Indeed, I begin to think
we are not much alike in any particular, you and I."
Confused by the emotion of the day, and feeling his being there with
this Double of coarse deportment, to be like a dream, Charles Darnay
was at a loss how to answer; finally, answered not at all.
"Now your dinner is done," Carton presently said, "why don't you call
a health, Mr. Darnay; why don't you give your toast?"
"What health? What toast?"
"Why, it's on the tip of your tongue. It ought to be, it must be,
I'll swear it's there."
"Miss Manette, then!"
"Miss Manette, then!"
Looking his companion full in the face while he drank the toast,
Carton flung his glass over his shoulder against the wall, where it
shivered to pieces; then, rang the bell, and ordered in another.
"That's a fair young lady to hand to a coach in the dark, Mr. Darnay!"
he said, ruing his new goblet.
A slight frown and a laconic "Yes," were the answer.
"That's a fair young lady to be pitied by and wept for by! How does it
feel? Is it worth being tried for one's life, to be the object of such
sympathy and compassion, Mr. Darnay?"
Again Darnay answered not a word.
"She was mightily pleased to have your message, when I gave it her.
Not that she showed she was pleased, but I suppose she was."
The allusion served as a timely reminder to Darnay that this
disagreeable companion had, of his own free will, assisted him in the
strait of the day. He turned the dialogue to that point, and thanked
him for it.
"I neither want any thanks, nor merit any," was the careless rejoinder.
"It was nothing to do, in the first place; and I don't know why I did it,
in the second. Mr. Darnay, let me ask you a question."
"Willingly, and a small return for your good offices."
"Do you think I particularly like you?"
"Really, Mr. Carton," returned the other, oddly disconcerted, "I have
not asked myself the question."
"But ask yourself the question now."
"You have acted as if you do; but I don't think you do."
"_I_ don't think I do," said Carton. "I begin to have a very good
opinion of your understanding."
"Nevertheless," pursued Darnay, rising to ring the bell, "there is
nothing in that, I hope, to prevent my calling the reckoning, and our
parting without ill-blood on either side."
Carton rejoining, "Nothing in life!" Darnay rang. "Do you call the
whole reckoning?" said Carton. On his answering in the affirmative,
"Then bring me another pint of this same wine, drawer, and come and
wake me at ten."
The bill being paid, Charles Darnay rose and wished him good night.
Without returning the wish, Carton rose too, with something of a
threat of defiance in his manner, and said, "A last word, Mr. Darnay:
you think I am drunk?"
"I think you have been drinking, Mr. Carton."
"Think? You know I have been drinking."
"Since I must say so, I know it."
"Then you shall likewise know why. I am a disappointed drudge, sir.
I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me."
"Much to be regretted. You might have used your talents better."
"May be so, Mr. Darnay; may be not. Don't let your sober face elate you,
however; you don't know what it may come to. Good night!"
When he was left alone, this strange being took up a candle, went to a
glass that hung against the wall, and surveyed himself minutely in it.
"Do you particularly like the man?" he muttered, at his own image;
"why should you particularly like a man who resembles you? There is
nothing in you to like; you know that. Ah, confound you! What a
change you have made in yourself! A good reason for taking to a man,
that he shows you what you have fallen away from, and what you might
have been! Change places with him, and would you have been looked at
by those blue eyes as he was, and commiserated by that agitated face
as he was? Come on, and have it out in plain words! You hate the fellow."
He resorted to his pint of wine for consolation, drank it all in a
few minutes, and fell asleep on his arms, with his hair straggling
over the table, and a long winding-sheet in the candle dripping down
Those were drinking days, and most men drank hard. So very great is
the improvement Time has brought about in such habits, that a moderate
statement of the quantity of wine and punch which one man would swallow
in the course of a night, without any detriment to his reputation as a
perfect gentleman, would seem, in these days, a ridiculous exaggeration.
The learned profession of the law was certainly not behind any other
learned profession in its Bacchanalian propensities; neither was
Mr. Stryver, already fast shouldering his way to a large and lucrative
practice, behind his compeers in this particular, any more than in the
drier parts of the legal race.
A favourite at the Old Bailey, and eke at the Sessions, Mr. Stryver
had begun cautiously to hew away the lower staves of the ladder on
which he mounted. Sessions and Old Bailey had now to summon their
favourite, specially, to their longing arms; and shouldering itself
towards the visage of the Lord Chief Justice in the Court of King's
Bench, the florid countenance of Mr. Stryver might be daily seen,
bursting out of the bed of wigs, like a great sunflower pushing its
way at the sun from among a rank garden-full of flaring companions.
It had once been noted at the Bar, that while Mr. Stryver was a glib
man, and an unscrupulous, and a ready, and a bold, he had not that
faculty of extracting the essence from a heap of statements, which is
among the most striking and necessary of the advocate's accomplishments.
But, a remarkable improvement came upon him as to this. The more
business he got, the greater his power seemed to grow of getting at
its pith and marrow; and however late at night he sat carousing with
Sydney Carton, he always had his points at his fingers' ends in the morning.
Sydney Carton, idlest and most unpromising of men, was Stryver's great
ally. What the two drank together, between Hilary Term and Michaelmas,
might have floated a king's ship. Stryver never had a case in hand,
anywhere, but Carton was there, with his hands in his pockets, staring
at the ceiling of the court; they went the same Circuit, and even there
they prolonged their usual orgies late into the night, and Carton was
rumoured to be seen at broad day, going home stealthily and unsteadily
to his lodgings, like a dissipated cat. At last, it began to get about,
among such as were interested in the matter, that although Sydney Carton
would never be a lion, he was an amazingly good jackal, and that he
rendered suit and service to Stryver in that humble capacity.
"Ten o'clock, sir," said the man at the tavern, whom he had charged to
wake him--"ten o'clock, sir."
"WHAT'S the matter?"
"Ten o'clock, sir."
"What do you mean? Ten o'clock at night?"
"Yes, sir. Your honour told me to call you."
"Oh! I remember. Very well, very well."
After a few dull efforts to get to sleep again, which the man dexterously
combated by stirring the fire continuously for five minutes, he got up,
tossed his hat on, and walked out. He turned into the Temple, and,
having revived himself by twice pacing the pavements of King's Bench-walk
and Paper-buildings, turned into the Stryver chambers.
The Stryver clerk, who never assisted at these conferences, had gone home,
and the Stryver principal opened the door. He had his slippers on,
and a loose bed-gown, and his throat was bare for his greater ease.
He had that rather wild, strained, seared marking about the eyes,
which may be observed in all free livers of his class, from the portrait
of Jeffries downward, and which can be traced, under various disguises
of Art, through the portraits of every Drinking Age.
"You are a little late, Memory," said Stryver.
"About the usual time; it may be a quarter of an hour later."
They went into a dingy room lined with books and littered with papers,
where there was a blazing fire. A kettle steamed upon the hob, and in
the midst of the wreck of papers a table shone, with plenty of wine
upon it, and brandy, and rum, and sugar, and lemons.
"You have had your bottle, I perceive, Sydney."
"Two to-night, I think. I have been dining with the day's client;
or seeing him dine--it's all one!"
"That was a rare point, Sydney, that you brought to bear upon the
identification. How did you come by it? When did it strike you?"
"I thought he was rather a handsome fellow, and I thought I should
have been much the same sort of fellow, if I had had any luck."
Mr. Stryver laughed till he shook his precocious paunch.
"You and your luck, Sydney! Get to work, get to work."
Sullenly enough, the jackal loosened his dress, went into an adjoining
room, and came back with a large jug of cold water, a basin, and a towel
or two. Steeping the towels in the water, and partially wringing them
out, he folded them on his head in a manner hideous to behold, sat down
at the table, and said, "Now I am ready!"
"Not much boiling down to be done to-night, Memory," said Mr. Stryver,
gaily, as he looked among his papers.
"Only two sets of them."
"Give me the worst first."
"There they are, Sydney. Fire away!"
The lion then composed himself on his back on a sofa on one side of
the drinking-table, while the jackal sat at his own paper-bestrewn
table proper, on the other side of it, with the bottles and glasses
ready to his hand. Both resorted to the drinking-table without
stint, but each in a different way; the lion for the most part
reclining with his hands in his waistband, looking at the fire, or
occasionally flirting with some lighter document; the jackal, with
knitted brows and intent face, so deep in his task, that his eyes did
not even follow the hand he stretched out for his glass--which often
groped about, for a minute or more, before it found the glass for his
lips. Two or three times, the matter in hand became so knotty, that
the jackal found it imperative on him to get up, and steep his towels
anew. From these pilgrimages to the jug and basin, he returned with
such eccentricities of damp headgear as no words can describe; which
were made the more ludicrous by his anxious gravity.
At length the jackal had got together a compact repast for the lion,
and proceeded to offer it to him. The lion took it with care and
caution, made his selections from it, and his remarks upon it,
and the jackal assisted both. When the repast was fully discussed,
the lion put his hands in his waistband again, and lay down to mediate.
The jackal then invigorated himself with a bum for his throttle,
and a fresh application to his head, and applied himself to the
collection of a second meal; this was administered to the lion in the
same manner, and was not disposed of until the clocks struck three in
"And now we have done, Sydney, fill a bumper of punch," said Mr. Stryver.
The jackal removed the towels from his head, which had been steaming
again, shook himself, yawned, shivered, and complied.
"You were very sound, Sydney, in the matter of those crown witnesses
to-day. Every question told."
"I always am sound; am I not?"
"I don't gainsay it. What has roughened your temper?
Put some punch to it and smooth it again."
With a deprecatory grunt, the jackal again complied.
"The old Sydney Carton of old Shrewsbury School," said Stryver,
nodding his head over him as he reviewed him in the present and the
past, "the old seesaw Sydney. Up one minute and down the next; now
in spirits and now in despondency!"
"Ah!" returned the other, sighing: "yes! The same Sydney, with the
same luck. Even then, I did exercises for other boys, and seldom did
"And why not?"
"God knows. It was my way, I suppose."
He sat, with his hands in his pockets and his legs stretched out
before him, looking at the fire.
"Carton," said his friend, squaring himself at him with a bullying
air, as if the fire-grate had been the furnace in which sustained
endeavour was forged, and the one delicate thing to be done for the
old Sydney Carton of old Shrewsbury School was to shoulder him into it,
"your way is, and always was, a lame way. You summon no energy and
purpose. Look at me."
"Oh, botheration!" returned Sydney, with a lighter and more good-
humoured laugh, "don't YOU be moral!"
"How have I done what I have done?" said Stryver; "how do I do what I do?"
"Partly through paying me to help you, I suppose. But it's not worth
your while to apostrophise me, or the air, about it; what you want to
do, you do. You were always in the front rank, and I was always behind."
"I had to get into the front rank; I was not born there, was I?"
"I was not present at the ceremony; but my opinion is you were," said
Carton. At this, he laughed again, and they both laughed.
"Before Shrewsbury, and at Shrewsbury, and ever since Shrewsbury,"
pursued Carton, "you have fallen into your rank, and I have fallen
into mine. Even when we were fellow-students in the Student-Quarter
of Paris, picking up French, and French law, and other French crumbs
that we didn't get much good of, you were always somewhere, and I was
"And whose fault was that?"
"Upon my soul, I am not sure that it was not yours. You were always
driving and riving and shouldering and passing, to that restless
degree that I had no chance for my life but in rust and repose. It's
a gloomy thing, however, to talk about one's own past, with the day
breaking. Turn me in some other direction before I go."
"Well then! Pledge me to the pretty witness," said Stryver, holding
up his glass. "Are you turned in a pleasant direction?"
Apparently not, for he became gloomy again.
"Pretty witness," he muttered, looking down into his glass. "I have
had enough of witnesses to-day and to-night; who's your pretty
"The picturesque doctor's daughter, Miss Manette."
"Is she not?"
"Why, man alive, she was the admiration of the whole Court!"
"Rot the admiration of the whole Court! Who made the Old Bailey a
judge of beauty? She was a golden-haired doll!"
"Do you know, Sydney," said Mr. Stryver, looking at him with sharp
eyes, and slowly drawing a hand across his florid face: "do you know,
I rather thought, at the time, that you sympathised with the
golden-haired doll, and were quick to see what happened to the
"Quick to see what happened! If a girl, doll or no doll, swoons
within a yard or two of a man's nose, he can see it without a
perspective-glass. I pledge you, but I deny the beauty.
And now I'll have no more drink; I'll get to bed."
When his host followed him out on the staircase with a candle,
to light him down the stairs, the day was coldly looking in through
its grimy windows. When he got out of the house, the air was cold
and sad, the dull sky overcast, the river dark and dim, the whole
scene like a lifeless desert. And wreaths of dust were spinning
round and round before the morning blast, as if the desert-sand had
risen far away, and the first spray of it in its advance had begun to
overwhelm the city.
Waste forces within him, and a desert all around, this man stood
still on his way across a silent terrace, and saw for a moment,
lying in the wilderness before him, a mirage of honourable ambition,
self-denial, and perseverance. In the fair city of this vision,
there were airy galleries from which the loves and graces looked upon
him, gardens in which the fruits of life hung ripening, waters of Hope
that sparkled in his sight. A moment, and it was gone. Climbing to
a high chamber in a well of houses, he threw himself down in his
clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow was wet with wasted tears.
Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man
of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed
exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible
of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.
Hundreds of People
The quiet lodgings of Doctor Manette were in a quiet street-corner
not far from Soho-square. On the afternoon of a certain fine Sunday
when the waves of four months had roiled over the trial for treason,
and carried it, as to the public interest and memory, far out to sea,
Mr. Jarvis Lorry walked along the sunny streets from Clerkenwell
where he lived, on his way to dine with the Doctor. After several
relapses into business-absorption, Mr. Lorry had become the Doctor's
friend, and the quiet street-corner was the sunny part of his life.
On this certain fine Sunday, Mr. Lorry walked towards Soho, early in
the afternoon, for three reasons of habit. Firstly, because, on fine
Sundays, he often walked out, before dinner, with the Doctor and Lucie;
secondly, because, on unfavourable Sundays, he was accustomed to be
with them as the family friend, talking, reading, looking out of window,
and generally getting through the day; thirdly, because he happened
to have his own little shrewd doubts to solve, and knew how the ways
of the Doctor's household pointed to that time as a likely time for
A quainter corner than the corner where the Doctor lived, was not to
be found in London. There was no way through it, and the front windows
of the Doctor's lodgings commanded a pleasant little vista of street
that had a congenial air of retirement on it. There were few buildings
then, north of the Oxford-road, and forest-trees flourished, and wild
flowers grew, and the hawthorn blossomed, in the now vanished fields.
As a consequence, country airs circulated in Soho with vigorous freedom,
instead of languishing into the parish like stray paupers without a
settlement; and there was many a good south wall, not far off, on which
the peaches ripened in their season.
The summer light struck into the corner brilliantly in the earlier
part of the day; but, when the streets grew hot, the corner was in
shadow, though not in shadow so remote but that you could see beyond
it into a glare of brightness. It was a cool spot, staid but cheerful,
a wonderful place for echoes, and a very harbour from the raging streets.
There ought to have been a tranquil bark in such an anchorage, and
there was. The Doctor occupied two floors of a large stiff house,
where several callings purported to be pursued by day, but whereof
little was audible any day, and which was shunned by all of them at
night. In a building at the back, attainable by a courtyard where a
plane-tree rustled its green leaves, church-organs claimed to be
made, and silver to be chased, and likewise gold to be beaten by some
mysterious giant who had a golden arm starting out of the wall of the
front hall--as if he had beaten himself precious, and menaced a similar
conversion of all visitors. Very little of these trades, or of a
lonely lodger rumoured to live up-stairs, or of a dim coach-trimming
maker asserted to have a counting-house below, was ever heard or seen.
Occasionally, a stray workman putting his coat on, traversed the
hall, or a stranger peered about there, or a distant clink was heard
across the courtyard, or a thump from the golden giant. These,
however, were only the exceptions required to prove the rule that the
sparrows in the plane-tree behind the house, and the echoes in the
corner before it, had their own way from Sunday morning unto Saturday
Doctor Manette received such patients here as his old reputation,
and its revival in the floating whispers of his story, brought him.
His scientific knowledge, and his vigilance and skill in conducting
ingenious experiments, brought him otherwise into moderate request,
and he earned as much as he wanted.
These things were within Mr. Jarvis Lorry's knowledge, thoughts, and
notice, when he rang the door-bell of the tranquil house in the corner,
on the fine Sunday afternoon.
"Doctor Manette at home?"
"Miss Lucie at home?"
"Miss Pross at home?"
Possibly at home, but of a certainty impossible for handmaid to anticipate
intentions of Miss Pross, as to admission or denial of the fact.
"As I am at home myself," said Mr. Lorry, "I'll go upstairs."
Although the Doctor's daughter had known nothing of the country of
her birth, she appeared to have innately derived from it that ability
to make much of little means, which is one of its most useful and
most agreeable characteristics. Simple as the furniture was, it was
set off by so many little adornments, of no value but for their taste
and fancy, that its effect was delightful. The disposition of
everything in the rooms, from the largest object to the least; the
arrangement of colours, the elegant variety and contrast obtained by
thrift in trifles, by delicate hands, clear eyes, and good sense;
were at once so pleasant in themselves, and so expressive of their
originator, that, as Mr. Lorry stood looking about him, the very
chairs and tables seemed to ask him, with something of that peculiar
expression which he knew so well by this time, whether he approved?
There were three rooms on a floor, and, the doors by which they
communicated being put open that the air might pass freely through
them all, Mr. Lorry, smilingly observant of that fanciful resemblance
which he detected all around him, walked from one to another.
The first was the best room, and in it were Lucie's birds, and flowers,
and books, and desk, and work-table, and box of water-colours;
the second was the Doctor's consulting-room, used also as the
dining-room; the third, changingly speckled by the rustle of the
plane-tree in the yard, was the Doctor's bedroom, and there, in a
corner, stood the disused shoemaker's bench and tray of tools,
much as it had stood on the fifth floor of the dismal house by the
wine-shop, in the suburb of Saint Antoine in Paris.
"I wonder," said Mr. Lorry, pausing in his looking about, "that he
keeps that reminder of his sufferings about him!"
"And why wonder at that?" was the abrupt inquiry that made him start.
It proceeded from Miss Pross, the wild red woman, strong of hand,
whose acquaintance he had first made at the Royal George Hotel at Dover,
and had since improved.
"I should have thought--" Mr. Lorry began.
"Pooh! You'd have thought!" said Miss Pross; and Mr. Lorry left off.
"How do you do?" inquired that lady then--sharply, and yet as if to
express that she bore him no malice.
"I am pretty well, I thank you," answered Mr. Lorry, with meekness;
"how are you?"
"Nothing to boast of," said Miss Pross.
"Ah! indeed!" said Miss Pross. "I am very much put out about my Ladybird."
"For gracious sake say something else besides `indeed,' or you'll
fidget me to death," said Miss Pross: whose character (dissociated
from stature) was shortness.
"Really, then?" said Mr. Lorry, as an amendment.
"Really, is bad enough," returned Miss Pross, "but better. Yes, I am
very much put out."
"May I ask the cause?"
"I don't want dozens of people who are not at all worthy of Ladybird,
to come here looking after her," said Miss Pross.
"DO dozens come for that purpose?"
"Hundreds," said Miss Pross.
It was characteristic of this lady (as of some other people before her
time and since) that whenever her original proposition was questioned,
she exaggerated it.
"Dear me!" said Mr. Lorry, as the safest remark he could think of.
"I have lived with the darling--or the darling has lived with me,
and paid me for it; which she certainly should never have done,
you may take your affidavit, if I could have afforded to keep either
myself or her for nothing--since she was ten years old. And it's
really very hard," said Miss Pross.
Not seeing with precision what was very hard, Mr. Lorry shook his head;
using that important part of himself as a sort of fairy cloak that
would fit anything.
"All sorts of people who are not in the least degree worthy of the pet,
are always turning up," said Miss Pross. "When you began it--"
"_I_ began it, Miss Pross?"
"Didn't you? Who brought her father to life?"
"Oh! If THAT was beginning it--" said Mr. Lorry.
"It wasn't ending it, I suppose? I say, when you began it, it was hard
enough; not that I have any fault to find with Doctor Manette, except
that he is not worthy of such a daughter, which is no imputation on
him, for it was not to be expected that anybody should be, under any
circumstances. But it really is doubly and trebly hard to have crowds
and multitudes of people turning up after him (I could have forgiven him),
to take Ladybird's affections away from me."
Mr. Lorry knew Miss Pross to be very jealous, but he also knew her by
this time to be, beneath the service of her eccentricity, one of those
unselfish creatures--found only among women--who will, for pure love
and admiration, bind themselves willing slaves, to youth when they
have lost it, to beauty that they never had, to accomplishments that
they were never fortunate enough to gain, to bright hopes that never
shone upon their own sombre lives. He knew enough of the world to
know that there is nothing in it better than the faithful service of
the heart; so rendered and so free from any mercenary taint, he had
such an exalted respect for it, that in the retributive arrangements
made by his own mind--we all make such arrangements, more or less--
he stationed Miss Pross much nearer to the lower Angels than many