Part 3 out of 9
ladies immeasurably better got up both by Nature and Art, who had
balances at Tellson's.
"There never was, nor will be, but one man worthy of Ladybird," said
Miss Pross; "and that was my brother Solomon, if he hadn't made a
mistake in life."
Here again: Mr. Lorry's inquiries into Miss Pross's personal history
had established the fact that her brother Solomon was a heartless
scoundrel who had stripped her of everything she possessed, as a
stake to speculate with, and had abandoned her in her poverty for
evermore, with no touch of compunction. Miss Pross's fidelity of
belief in Solomon (deducting a mere trifle for this slight mistake)
was quite a serious matter with Mr. Lorry, and had its weight in his
good opinion of her.
"As we happen to be alone for the moment, and are both people of
business," he said, when they had got back to the drawing-room and
had sat down there in friendly relations, "let me ask you--does the
Doctor, in talking with Lucie, never refer to the shoemaking time, yet?"
"And yet keeps that bench and those tools beside him?"
"Ah!" returned Miss Pross, shaking her head. "But I don't say he
don't refer to it within himself."
"Do you believe that he thinks of it much?"
"I do," said Miss Pross.
"Do you imagine--" Mr. Lorry had begun, when Miss Pross took him up
"Never imagine anything. Have no imagination at all."
"I stand corrected; do you suppose--you go so far as to suppose, sometimes?"
"Now and then," said Miss Pross.
"Do you suppose," Mr. Lorry went on, with a laughing twinkle in his
bright eye, as it looked kindly at her, "that Doctor Manette has any
theory of his own, preserved through all those years, relative to the
cause of his being so oppressed; perhaps, even to the name of his
"I don't suppose anything about it but what Ladybird tells me."
"And that is--?"
"That she thinks he has."
"Now don't be angry at my asking all these questions; because I am a
mere dull man of business, and you are a woman of business."
"Dull?" Miss Pross inquired, with placidity.
Rather wishing his modest adjective away, Mr. Lorry replied, "No, no,
no. Surely not. To return to business:--Is it not remarkable that
Doctor Manette, unquestionably innocent of any crime as we are all
well assured he is, should never touch upon that question? I will not
say with me, though he had business relations with me many years ago,
and we are now intimate; I will say with the fair daughter to whom he
is so devotedly attached, and who is so devotedly attached to him?
Believe me, Miss Pross, I don't approach the topic with you, out of
curiosity, but out of zealous interest."
"Well! To the best of my understanding, and bad's the best,
you'll tell me," said Miss Pross, softened by the tone of the apology,
"he is afraid of the whole subject."
"It's plain enough, I should think, why he may be. It's a dreadful
remembrance. Besides that, his loss of himself grew out of it.
Not knowing how he lost himself, or how he recovered himself, he may
never feel certain of not losing himself again. That alone wouldn't
make the subject pleasant, I should think."
It was a profounder remark than Mr. Lorry had looked for. "True,"
said he, "and fearful to reflect upon. Yet, a doubt lurks in my mind,
Miss Pross, whether it is good for Doctor Manette to have that
suppression always shut up within him. Indeed, it is this doubt and
the uneasiness it sometimes causes me that has led me to our present
"Can't be helped," said Miss Pross, shaking her head. "Touch that
string, and he instantly changes for the worse. Better leave it
alone. In short, must leave it alone, like or no like. Sometimes,
he gets up in the dead of the night, and will be heard, by us
overhead there, walking up and down, walking up and down, in his room.
Ladybird has learnt to know then that his mind is walking up and
down, walking up and down, in his old prison. She hurries to him,
and they go on together, walking up and down, walking up and down,
until he is composed. But he never says a word of the true reason of
his restlessness, to her, and she finds it best not to hint at it to him.
In silence they go walking up and down together, walking up and down
together, till her love and company have brought him to himself."
Notwithstanding Miss Pross's denial of her own imagination, there was
a perception of the pain of being monotonously haunted by one sad idea,
in her repetition of the phrase, walking up and down, which testified
to her possessing such a thing.
The corner has been mentioned as a wonderful corner for echoes;
it had begun to echo so resoundingly to the tread of coming feet,
that it seemed as though the very mention of that weary pacing to and
fro had set it going.
"Here they are!" said Miss Pross, rising to break up the conference;
"and now we shall have hundreds of people pretty soon!"
It was such a curious corner in its acoustical properties, such a
peculiar Ear of a place, that as Mr. Lorry stood at the open window,
looking for the father and daughter whose steps he heard, he fancied
they would never approach. Not only would the echoes die away,
as though the steps had gone; but, echoes of other steps that never
came would be heard in their stead, and would die away for good when
they seemed close at hand. However, father and daughter did at last
appear, and Miss Pross was ready at the street door to receive them.
Miss Pross was a pleasant sight, albeit wild, and red, and grim, taking
off her darling's bonnet when she came up-stairs, and touching it up
with the ends of her handkerchief, and blowing the dust off it, and
folding her mantle ready for laying by, and smoothing her rich hair
with as much pride as she could possibly have taken in her own hair
if she had been the vainest and handsomest of women. Her darling was
a pleasant sight too, embracing her and thanking her, and protesting
against her taking so much trouble for her--which last she only dared
to do playfully, or Miss Pross, sorely hurt, would have retired to
her own chamber and cried. The Doctor was a pleasant sight too,
looking on at them, and telling Miss Pross how she spoilt Lucie, in
accents and with eyes that had as much spoiling in them as Miss Pross
had, and would have had more if it were possible. Mr. Lorry was a
pleasant sight too, beaming at all this in his little wig, and thanking
his bachelor stars for having lighted him in his declining years to a
Home. But, no Hundreds of people came to see the sights, and Mr. Lorry
looked in vain for the fulfilment of Miss Pross's prediction.
Dinner-time, and still no Hundreds of people. In the arrangements of
the little household, Miss Pross took charge of the lower regions,
and always acquitted herself marvellously. Her dinners, of a very
modest quality, were so well cooked and so well served, and so neat
in their contrivances, half English and half French, that nothing
could be better. Miss Pross's friendship being of the thoroughly
practical kind, she had ravaged Soho and the adjacent provinces, in
search of impoverished French, who, tempted by shillings and half-
crowns, would impart culinary mysteries to her. From these decayed
sons and daughters of Gaul, she had acquired such wonderful arts,
that the woman and girl who formed the staff of domestics regarded
her as quite a Sorceress, or Cinderella's Godmother: who would send
out for a fowl, a rabbit, a vegetable or two from the garden, and
change them into anything she pleased.
On Sundays, Miss Pross dined at the Doctor's table, but on other days
persisted in taking her meals at unknown periods, either in the lower
regions, or in her own room on the second floor--a blue chamber,
to which no one but her Ladybird ever gained admittance. On this
occasion, Miss Pross, responding to Ladybird's pleasant face and
pleasant efforts to please her, unbent exceedingly; so the dinner was
very pleasant, too.
It was an oppressive day, and, after dinner, Lucie proposed that the
wine should be carried out under the plane-tree, and they should sit
there in the air. As everything turned upon her, and revolved about
her, they went out under the plane-tree, and she carried the wine
down for the special benefit of Mr. Lorry. She had installed herself,
some time before, as Mr. Lorry's cup-bearer; and while they sat under
the plane-tree, talking, she kept his glass replenished. Mysterious
backs and ends of houses peeped at them as they talked, and the
plane-tree whispered to them in its own way above their heads.
Still, the Hundreds of people did not present themselves. Mr. Darnay
presented himself while they were sitting under the plane-tree,
but he was only One.
Doctor Manette received him kindly, and so did Lucie. But, Miss
Pross suddenly became afflicted with a twitching in the head and
body, and retired into the house. She was not unfrequently the
victim of this disorder, and she called it, in familiar conversation,
"a fit of the jerks."
The Doctor was in his best condition, and looked specially young.
The resemblance between him and Lucie was very strong at such times,
and as they sat side by side, she leaning on his shoulder, and he
resting his arm on the back of her chair, it was very agreeable to
trace the likeness.
He had been talking all day, on many subjects, and with unusual vivacity.
"Pray, Doctor Manette," said Mr. Darnay, as they sat under the
plane-tree--and he said it in the natural pursuit of the topic in
hand, which happened to be the old buildings of London--"have you
seen much of the Tower?"
"Lucie and I have been there; but only casually. We have seen enough
of it, to know that it teems with interest; little more."
"_I_ have been there, as you remember," said Darnay, with a smile,
though reddening a little angrily, "in another character, and not in
a character that gives facilities for seeing much of it. They told
me a curious thing when I was there."
"What was that?" Lucie asked.
"In making some alterations, the workmen came upon an old dungeon,
which had been, for many years, built up and forgotten. Every stone
of its inner wall was covered by inscriptions which had been carved
by prisoners--dates, names, complaints, and prayers. Upon a corner
stone in an angle of the wall, one prisoner, who seemed to have gone
to execution, had cut as his last work, three letters. They were
done with some very poor instrument, and hurriedly, with an unsteady
hand. At first, they were read as D. I. C.; but, on being more
carefully examined, the last letter was found to be G. There was no
record or legend of any prisoner with those initials, and many
fruitless guesses were made what the name could have been.
At length, it was suggested that the letters were not initials, but
the complete word, DiG. The floor was examined very carefully under
the inscription, and, in the earth beneath a stone, or tile, or some
fragment of paving, were found the ashes of a paper, mingled with the
ashes of a small leathern case or bag. What the unknown prisoner had
written will never be read, but he had written something, and hidden
it away to keep it from the gaoler."
"My father," exclaimed Lucie, "you are ill!"
He had suddenly started up, with his hand to his head. His manner
and his look quite terrified them all.
"No, my dear, not ill. There are large drops of rain falling,
and they made me start. We had better go in."
He recovered himself almost instantly. Rain was really falling in
large drops, and he showed the back of his hand with rain-drops on it.
But, he said not a single word in reference to the discovery that had
been told of, and, as they went into the house, the business eye of
Mr. Lorry either detected, or fancied it detected, on his face, as it
turned towards Charles Darnay, the same singular look that had been
upon it when it turned towards him in the passages of the Court House.
He recovered himself so quickly, however, that Mr. Lorry had doubts
of his business eye. The arm of the golden giant in the hall was not
more steady than he was, when he stopped under it to remark to them
that he was not yet proof against slight surprises (if he ever would
be), and that the rain had startled him.
Tea-time, and Miss Pross making tea, with another fit of the jerks
upon her, and yet no Hundreds of people. Mr. Carton had lounged in,
but he made only Two.
The night was so very sultry, that although they sat with doors and
windows open, they were overpowered by heat. When the tea-table was
done with, they all moved to one of the windows, and looked out into
the heavy twilight. Lucie sat by her father; Darnay sat beside her;
Carton leaned against a window. The curtains were long and white,
and some of the thunder-gusts that whirled into the corner, caught
them up to the ceiling, and waved them like spectral wings.
"The rain-drops are still falling, large, heavy, and few," said
Doctor Manette. "It comes slowly."
"It comes surely," said Carton.
They spoke low, as people watching and waiting mostly do; as people
in a dark room, watching and waiting for Lightning, always do.
There was a great hurry in the streets of people speeding away to get
shelter before the storm broke; the wonderful corner for echoes
resounded with the echoes of footsteps coming and going, yet not a
footstep was there.
"A multitude of people, and yet a solitude!" said Darnay, when they
had listened for a while.
"Is it not impressive, Mr. Darnay?" asked Lucie. "Sometimes, I have
sat here of an evening, until I have fancied--but even the shade of a
foolish fancy makes me shudder to-night, when all is so black and
"Let us shudder too. We may know what it is."
"It will seem nothing to you. Such whims are only impressive as we
originate them, I think; they are not to be communicated. I have
sometimes sat alone here of an evening, listening, until I have made
the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming
by-and-bye into our lives."
"There is a great crowd coming one day into our lives, if that be so,"
Sydney Carton struck in, in his moody way.
The footsteps were incessant, and the hurry of them became more and
more rapid. The corner echoed and re-echoed with the tread of feet;
some, as it seemed, under the windows; some, as it seemed, in the room;
some coming, some going, some breaking off, some stopping altogether;
all in the distant streets, and not one within sight.
"Are all these footsteps destined to come to all of us, Miss Manette,
or are we to divide them among us?"
"I don't know, Mr. Darnay; I told you it was a foolish fancy, but you
asked for it. When I have yielded myself to it, I have been alone,
and then I have imagined them the footsteps of the people who are to
come into my life, and my father's."
"I take them into mine!" said Carton. "_I_ ask no questions and make
no stipulations. There is a great crowd bearing down upon us, Miss
Manette, and I see them--by the Lightning." He added the last words,
after there had been a vivid flash which had shown him lounging in
"And I hear them!" he added again, after a peal of thunder.
"Here they come, fast, fierce, and furious!"
It was the rush and roar of rain that he typified, and it stopped him,
for no voice could be heard in it. A memorable storm of thunder and
lightning broke with that sweep of water, and there was not a moment's
interval in crash, and fire, and rain, until after the moon rose at
The great bell of Saint Paul's was striking one in the cleared air,
when Mr. Lorry, escorted by Jerry, high-booted and bearing a lantern,
set forth on his return-passage to Clerkenwell. There were solitary
patches of road on the way between Soho and Clerkenwell, and Mr. Lorry,
mindful of foot-pads, always retained Jerry for this service: though
it was usually performed a good two hours earlier.
"What a night it has been! Almost a night, Jerry," said Mr. Lorry,
"to bring the dead out of their graves."
"I never see the night myself, master--nor yet I don't expect to--
what would do that," answered Jerry.
"Good night, Mr. Carton," said the man of business. "Good night,
Mr. Darnay. Shall we ever see such a night again, together!"
Perhaps. Perhaps, see the great crowd of people with its rush and
roar, bearing down upon them, too.
Monseigneur in Town
Monseigneur, one of the great lords in power at the Court, held his
fortnightly reception in his grand hotel in Paris. Monseigneur was
in his inner room, his sanctuary of sanctuaries, the Holiest of
Holiests to the crowd of worshippers in the suite of rooms without.
Monseigneur was about to take his chocolate. Monseigneur could
swallow a great many things with ease, and was by some few sullen
minds supposed to be rather rapidly swallowing France; but, his
morning's chocolate could not so much as get into the throat of
Monseigneur, without the aid of four strong men besides the Cook.
Yes. It took four men, all four ablaze with gorgeous decoration,
and the Chief of them unable to exist with fewer than two gold
watches in his pocket, emulative of the noble and chaste fashion set
by Monseigneur, to conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur's lips.
One lacquey carried the chocolate-pot into the sacred presence;
a second, milled and frothed the chocolate with the little instrument
he bore for that function; a third, presented the favoured napkin;
a fourth (he of the two gold watches), poured the chocolate out.
It was impossible for Monseigneur to dispense with one of these
attendants on the chocolate and hold his high place under the
admiring Heavens. Deep would have been the blot upon his escutcheon
if his chocolate had been ignobly waited on by only three men; he
must have died of two.
Monseigneur had been out at a little supper last night, where the
Comedy and the Grand Opera were charmingly represented. Monseigneur
was out at a little supper most nights, with fascinating company.
So polite and so impressible was Monseigneur, that the Comedy and
the Grand Opera had far more influence with him in the tiresome
articles of state affairs and state secrets, than the needs of all
France. A happy circumstance for France, as the like always is for
all countries similarly favoured!--always was for England (by way of
example), in the regretted days of the merry Stuart who sold it.
Monseigneur had one truly noble idea of general public business,
which was, to let everything go on in its own way; of particular
public business, Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea that it
must all go his way--tend to his own power and pocket. Of his
pleasures, general and particular, Monseigneur had the other truly
noble idea, that the world was made for them. The text of his order
(altered from the original by only a pronoun, which is not much) ran:
"The earth and the fulness thereof are mine, saith Monseigneur."
Yet, Monseigneur had slowly found that vulgar embarrassments crept
into his affairs, both private and public; and he had, as to both
classes of affairs, allied himself perforce with a Farmer-General.
As to finances public, because Monseigneur could not make anything
at all of them, and must consequently let them out to somebody who
could; as to finances private, because Farmer-Generals were rich, and
Monseigneur, after generations of great luxury and expense, was
growing poor. Hence Monseigneur had taken his sister from a convent,
while there was yet time to ward off the impending veil, the cheapest
garment she could wear, and had bestowed her as a prize upon a very
rich Farmer-General, poor in family. Which Farmer-General, carrying
an appropriate cane with a golden apple on the top of it, was now
among the company in the outer rooms, much prostrated before by
mankind--always excepting superior mankind of the blood of Monseigneur,
who, his own wife included, looked down upon him with the loftiest
A sumptuous man was the Farmer-General. Thirty horses stood in his
stables, twenty-four male domestics sat in his halls, six body-women
waited on his wife. As one who pretended to do nothing but plunder
and forage where he could, the Farmer-General--howsoever his
matrimonial relations conduced to social morality--was at least the
greatest reality among the personages who attended at the hotel of
Monseigneur that day.
For, the rooms, though a beautiful scene to look at, and adorned with
every device of decoration that the taste and skill of the time could
achieve, were, in truth, not a sound business; considered with any
reference to the scarecrows in the rags and nightcaps elsewhere
(and not so far off, either, but that the watching towers of Notre
Dame, almost equidistant from the two extremes, could see them both),
they would have been an exceedingly uncomfortable business--if that
could have been anybody's business, at the house of Monseigneur.
Military officers destitute of military knowledge; naval officers
with no idea of a ship; civil officers without a notion of affairs;
brazen ecclesiastics, of the worst world worldly, with sensual eyes,
loose tongues, and looser lives; all totally unfit for their several
callings, all lying horribly in pretending to belong to them, but all
nearly or remotely of the order of Monseigneur, and therefore foisted
on all public employments from which anything was to be got; these were
to be told off by the score and the score. People not immediately
connected with Monseigneur or the State, yet equally unconnected with
anything that was real, or with lives passed in travelling by any
straight road to any true earthly end, were no less abundant.
Doctors who made great fortunes out of dainty remedies for imaginary
disorders that never existed, smiled upon their courtly patients in
the ante-chambers of Monseigneur. Projectors who had discovered
every kind of remedy for the little evils with which the State was
touched, except the remedy of setting to work in earnest to root out
a single sin, poured their distracting babble into any ears they
could lay hold of, at the reception of Monseigneur. Unbelieving
Philosophers who were remodelling the world with words, and making
card-towers of Babel to scale the skies with, talked with Unbelieving
Chemists who had an eye on the transmutation of metals, at this
wonderful gathering accumulated by Monseigneur. Exquisite gentlemen
of the finest breeding, which was at that remarkable time--and has
been since--to be known by its fruits of indifference to every
natural subject of human interest, were in the most exemplary state
of exhaustion, at the hotel of Monseigneur. Such homes had these
various notabilities left behind them in the fine world of Paris,
that the spies among the assembled devotees of Monseigneur--forming a
goodly half of the polite company--would have found it hard to
discover among the angels of that sphere one solitary wife, who, in
her manners and appearance, owned to being a Mother. Indeed, except
for the mere act of bringing a troublesome creature into this world--
which does not go far towards the realisation of the name of mother--
there was no such thing known to the fashion. Peasant women kept the
unfashionable babies close, and brought them up, and charming grandmammas
of sixty dressed and supped as at twenty.
The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance
upon Monseigneur. In the outermost room were half a dozen exceptional
people who had had, for a few years, some vague misgiving in them
that things in general were going rather wrong. As a promising way
of setting them right, half of the half-dozen had become members of a
fantastic sect of Convulsionists, and were even then considering within
themselves whether they should foam, rage, roar, and turn cataleptic
on the spot--thereby setting up a highly intelligible finger-post to
the Future, for Monseigneur's guidance. Besides these Dervishes,
were other three who had rushed into another sect, which mended
matters with a jargon about "the Centre of Truth:" holding that Man
had got out of the Centre of Truth--which did not need much
demonstration--but had not got out of the Circumference, and that he
was to be kept from flying out of the Circumference, and was even to
be shoved back into the Centre, by fasting and seeing of spirits.
Among these, accordingly, much discoursing with spirits went on--and
it did a world of good which never became manifest.
But, the comfort was, that all the company at the grand hotel of
Monseigneur were perfectly dressed. If the Day of Judgment had only
been ascertained to be a dress day, everybody there would have been
eternally correct. Such frizzling and powdering and sticking up of
hair, such delicate complexions artificially preserved and mended,
such gallant swords to look at, and such delicate honour to the sense
of smell, would surely keep anything going, for ever and ever.
The exquisite gentlemen of the finest breeding wore little pendent
trinkets that chinked as they languidly moved; these golden fetters
rang like precious little bells; and what with that ringing, and with
the rustle of silk and brocade and fine linen, there was a flutter in
the air that fanned Saint Antoine and his devouring hunger far away.
Dress was the one unfailing talisman and charm used for keeping all
things in their places. Everybody was dressed for a Fancy Ball that
was never to leave off. From the Palace of the Tuileries, through
Monseigneur and the whole Court, through the Chambers, the Tribunals
of Justice, and all society (except the scarecrows), the Fancy Ball
descended to the Common Executioner: who, in pursuance of the charm,
was required to officiate "frizzled, powdered, in a gold-laced coat,
pumps, and white silk stockings." At the gallows and the wheel--the
axe was a rarity--Monsieur Paris, as it was the episcopal mode among
his brother Professors of the provinces, Monsieur Orleans, and the
rest, to call him, presided in this dainty dress. And who among the
company at Monseigneur's reception in that seventeen hundred and
eightieth year of our Lord, could possibly doubt, that a system
rooted in a frizzled hangman, powdered, gold-laced, pumped, and
white-silk stockinged, would see the very stars out!
Monseigneur having eased his four men of their burdens and taken his
chocolate, caused the doors of the Holiest of Holiests to be thrown
open, and issued forth. Then, what submission, what cringing and
fawning, what servility, what abject humiliation! As to bowing down
in body and spirit, nothing in that way was left for Heaven--which
may have been one among other reasons why the worshippers of
Monseigneur never troubled it.
Bestowing a word of promise here and a smile there, a whisper on one
happy slave and a wave of the hand on another, Monseigneur affably
passed through his rooms to the remote region of the Circumference of
Truth. There, Monseigneur turned, and came back again, and so in due
course of time got himself shut up in his sanctuary by the chocolate
sprites, and was seen no more.
The show being over, the flutter in the air became quite a little
storm, and the precious little bells went ringing downstairs.
There was soon but one person left of all the crowd, and he, with his
hat under his arm and his snuff-box in his hand, slowly passed among
the mirrors on his way out.
"I devote you," said this person, stopping at the last door on his
way, and turning in the direction of the sanctuary, "to the Devil!"
With that, he shook the snuff from his fingers as if he had shaken
the dust from his feet, and quietly walked downstairs.
He was a man of about sixty, handsomely dressed, haughty in manner,
and with a face like a fine mask. A face of a transparent paleness;
every feature in it clearly defined; one set expression on it.
The nose, beautifully formed otherwise, was very slightly pinched at
the top of each nostril. In those two compressions, or dints, the
only little change that the face ever showed, resided. They persisted
in changing colour sometimes, and they would be occasionally dilated
and contracted by something like a faint pulsation; then, they gave a
look of treachery, and cruelty, to the whole countenance. Examined
with attention, its capacity of helping such a look was to be found
in the line of the mouth, and the lines of the orbits of the eyes,
being much too horizontal and thin; still, in the effect of the face
made, it was a handsome face, and a remarkable one.
Its owner went downstairs into the courtyard, got into his carriage,
and drove away. Not many people had talked with him at the reception;
he had stood in a little space apart, and Monseigneur might have been
warmer in his manner. It appeared, under the circumstances, rather
agreeable to him to see the common people dispersed before his horses,
and often barely escaping from being run down. His man drove as if
he were charging an enemy, and the furious recklessness of the man
brought no check into the face, or to the lips, of the master. The
complaint had sometimes made itself audible, even in that deaf city
and dumb age, that, in the narrow streets without footways, the fierce
patrician custom of hard driving endangered and maimed the mere vulgar
in a barbarous manner. But, few cared enough for that to think of it
a second time, and, in this matter, as in all others, the common
wretches were left to get out of their difficulties as they could.
With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of
consideration not easy to be understood in these days, the carriage
dashed through streets and swept round corners, with women screaming
before it, and men clutching each other and clutching children out of
its way. At last, swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of
its wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there was a loud cry
from a number of voices, and the horses reared and plunged.
But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not
have stopped; carriages were often known to drive on, and leave their
wounded behind, and why not? But the frightened valet had got down in
a hurry, and there were twenty hands at the horses' bridles.
"What has gone wrong?" said Monsieur, calmly looking out.
A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the feet
of the horses, and had laid it on the basement of the fountain,
and was down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild animal.
"Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!" said a ragged and submissive man,
"it is a child."
"Why does he make that abominable noise? Is it his child?"
"Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis--it is a pity--yes."
The fountain was a little removed; for the street opened, where it
was, into a space some ten or twelve yards square. As the tall man
suddenly got up from the ground, and came running at the carriage,
Monsieur the Marquis clapped his hand for an instant on his sword-hilt.
"Killed!" shrieked the man, in wild desperation, extending both arms
at their length above his head, and staring at him. "Dead!"
The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis.
There was nothing revealed by the many eyes that looked at him but
watchfulness and eagerness; there was no visible menacing or anger.
Neither did the people say anything; after the first cry, they had
been silent, and they remained so. The voice of the submissive man
who had spoken, was flat and tame in its extreme submission.
Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had been
mere rats come out of their holes.
He took out his purse.
"It is extraordinary to me," said he, "that you people cannot take
care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is for
ever in the, way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses.
See! Give him that."
He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads
craned forward that all the eyes might look down at it as it fell.
The tall man called out again with a most unearthly cry, "Dead!"
He was arrested by the quick arrival of another man, for whom the
rest made way. On seeing him, the miserable creature fell upon his
shoulder, sobbing and crying, and pointing to the fountain, where
some women were stooping over the motionless bundle, and moving
gently about it. They were as silent, however, as the men.
"I know all, I know all," said the last comer. "Be a brave man, my
Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than
to live. It has died in a moment without pain. Could it have lived
an hour as happily?"
"You are a philosopher, you there," said the, Marquis, smiling.
"How do they call you?"
"They call me Defarge."
"Of what trade?"
"Monsieur the Marquis, vendor of wine."
"Pick up that, philosopher and vendor of wine," said the Marquis,
throwing him another gold coin, "and spend it as you will.
The horses there; are they right?"
Without deigning to look at the assemblage a second time, Monsieur
the Marquis leaned back in his seat, and was just being driven away
with the air of a gentleman who had accidentally broke some common
thing, and had paid for it, and could afford to pay for it; when his
ease was suddenly disturbed by a coin flying into his carriage,
and ringing on its floor.
"Hold!" said Monsieur the Marquis. "Hold the horses! Who threw that?"
He looked to the spot where Defarge the vendor of wine had stood,
a moment before; but the wretched father was grovelling on his face
on the pavement in that spot, and the figure that stood beside him
was the figure of a dark stout woman, knitting.
"You dogs!" said the Marquis, but smoothly, and with an unchanged front,
except as to the spots on his nose: "I would ride over any of you
very willingly, and exterminate you from the earth. If I knew which
rascal threw at the carriage, and if that brigand were sufficiently
near it, he should be crushed under the wheels."
So cowed was their condition, and so long and hard their experience
of what such a man could do to them, within the law and beyond it,
that not a voice, or a hand, or even an eye was raised. Among the
men, not one. But the woman who stood knitting looked up steadily,
and looked the Marquis in the face. It was not for his dignity to
notice it; his contemptuous eyes passed over her, and over all the
other rats; and he leaned back in his seat again, and gave the word
He was driven on, and other carriages came whirling by in quick
succession; the Minister, the State-Projector, the Farmer-General,
the Doctor, the Lawyer, the Ecclesiastic, the Grand Opera, the
Comedy, the whole Fancy Ball in a bright continuous flow, came
whirling by. The rats had crept out of their holes to look on,
and they remained looking on for hours; soldiers and police often
passing between them and the spectacle, and making a barrier behind
which they slunk, and through which they peeped. The father had long
ago taken up his bundle and bidden himself away with it, when the
women who had tended the bundle while it lay on the base of the
fountain, sat there watching the running of the water and the rolling
of the Fancy Ball--when the one woman who had stood conspicuous,
knitting, still knitted on with the steadfastness of Fate. The water
of the fountain ran, the swift river ran, the day ran into evening,
so much life in the city ran into death according to rule, time and
tide waited for no man, the rats were sleeping close together in
their dark holes again, the Fancy Ball was lighted up at supper,
all things ran their course.
Monseigneur in the Country
A beautiful landscape, with the corn bright in it, but not abundant.
Patches of poor rye where corn should have been, patches of poor peas
and beans, patches of most coarse vegetable substitutes for wheat.
On inanimate nature, as on the men and women who cultivated it,
a prevalent tendency towards an appearance of vegetating
unwillingly--a dejected disposition to give up, and wither away.
Monsieur the Marquis in his travelling carriage (which might have
been lighter), conducted by four post-horses and two postilions,
fagged up a steep hill. A blush on the countenance of Monsieur the
Marquis was no impeachment of his high breeding; it was not from
within; it was occasioned by an external circumstance beyond his
control--the setting sun.
The sunset struck so brilliantly into the travelling carriage when it
gained the hill-top, that its occupant was steeped in crimson.
"It will die out," said Monsieur the Marquis, glancing at his hands,
In effect, the sun was so low that it dipped at the moment. When the
heavy drag had been adjusted to the wheel, and the carriage slid down
hill, with a cinderous smell, in a cloud of dust, the red glow departed
quickly; the sun and the Marquis going down together, there was no
glow left when the drag was taken off.
But, there remained a broken country, bold and open, a little village
at the bottom of the hill, a broad sweep and rise beyond it, a church-
tower, a windmill, a forest for the chase, and a crag with a fortress
on it used as a prison. Round upon all these darkening objects as
the night drew on, the Marquis looked, with the air of one who was
coming near home.
The village had its one poor street, with its poor brewery, poor
tannery, poor tavern, poor stable-yard for relays of post-horses,
poor fountain, all usual poor appointments. It had its poor people
too. All its people were poor, and many of them were sitting at
their doors, shredding spare onions and the like for supper, while
many were at the fountain, washing leaves, and grasses, and any such
small yieldings of the earth that could be eaten. Expressive sips of
what made them poor, were not wanting; the tax for the state, the tax
for the church, the tax for the lord, tax local and tax general, were
to be paid here and to be paid there, according to solemn inscription
in the little village, until the wonder was, that there was any
village left unswallowed.
Few children were to be seen, and no dogs. As to the men and women,
their choice on earth was stated in the prospect--Life on the lowest
terms that could sustain it, down in the little village under the
mill; or captivity and Death in the dominant prison on the crag.
Heralded by a courier in advance, and by the cracking of his
postilions' whips, which twined snake-like about their heads in the
evening air, as if he came attended by the Furies, Monsieur the
Marquis drew up in his travelling carriage at the posting-house gate.
It was hard by the fountain, and the peasants suspended their
operations to look at him. He looked at them, and saw in them,
without knowing it, the slow sure filing down of misery-worn face and
figure, that was to make the meagreness of Frenchmen an English
superstition which should survive the truth through the best part of
a hundred years.
Monsieur the Marquis cast his eyes over the submissive faces that
drooped before him, as the like of himself had drooped before
Monseigneur of the Court--only the difference was, that these faces
drooped merely to suffer and not to propitiate--when a grizzled
mender of the roads joined the group.
"Bring me hither that fellow!" said the Marquis to the courier.
The fellow was brought, cap in hand, and the other fellows closed
round to look and listen, in the manner of the people at the Paris
"I passed you on the road?"
"Monseigneur, it is true. I had the honour of being passed on the road."
"Coming up the hill, and at the top of the hill, both?"
"Monseigneur, it is true."
"What did you look at, so fixedly?"
"Monseigneur, I looked at the man."
He stooped a little, and with his tattered blue cap pointed under the
carriage. All his fellows stooped to look under the carriage.
"What man, pig? And why look there?"
"Pardon, Monseigneur; he swung by the chain of the shoe--the drag."
"Who?" demanded the traveller.
"Monseigneur, the man."
"May the Devil carry away these idiots! How do you call the man?
You know all the men of this part of the country. Who was he?"
"Your clemency, Monseigneur! He was not of this part of the country.
Of all the days of my life, I never saw him."
"Swinging by the chain? To be suffocated?"
"With your gracious permission, that was the wonder of it,
Monseigneur. His head hanging over--like this!"
He turned himself sideways to the carriage, and leaned back, with his
face thrown up to the sky, and his head hanging down; then recovered
himself, fumbled with his cap, and made a bow.
"What was he like?"
"Monseigneur, he was whiter than the miller. All covered with dust,
white as a spectre, tall as a spectre!"
The picture produced an immense sensation in the little crowd;
but all eyes, without comparing notes with other eyes, looked at
Monsieur the Marquis. Perhaps, to observe whether he had any spectre
on his conscience.
"Truly, you did well," said the Marquis, felicitously sensible that
such vermin were not to ruffle him, "to see a thief accompanying my
carriage, and not open that great mouth of yours. Bah! Put him aside,
Monsieur Gabelle was the Postmaster, and some other taxing functionary
united; he had come out with great obsequiousness to assist at this
examination, and had held the examined by the drapery of his arm in
an official manner.
"Bah! Go aside!" said Monsieur Gabelle.
"Lay hands on this stranger if he seeks to lodge in your village
to-night, and be sure that his business is honest, Gabelle."
"Monseigneur, I am flattered to devote myself to your orders."
"Did he run away, fellow?--where is that Accursed?"
The accursed was already under the carriage with some half-dozen
particular friends, pointing out the chain with his blue cap.
Some half-dozen other particular friends promptly hauled him out,
and presented him breathless to Monsieur the Marquis.
"Did the man run away, Dolt, when we stopped for the drag?"
"Monseigneur, he precipitated himself over the hill-side, head first,
as a person plunges into the river."
"See to it, Gabelle. Go on!"
The half-dozen who were peering at the chain were still among the
wheels, like sheep; the wheels turned so suddenly that they were
lucky to save their skins and bones; they had very little else to
save, or they might not have been so fortunate.
The burst with which the carriage started out of the village and up
the rise beyond, was soon checked by the steepness of the hill.
Gradually, it subsided to a foot pace, swinging and lumbering upward
among the many sweet scents of a summer night. The postilions, with
a thousand gossamer gnats circling about them in lieu of the Furies,
quietly mended the points to the lashes of their whips; the valet
walked by the horses; the courier was audible, trotting on ahead into
the dun distance.
At the steepest point of the hill there was a little burial-ground,
with a Cross and a new large figure of Our Saviour on it; it was a
poor figure in wood, done by some inexperienced rustic carver, but he
had studied the figure from the life--his own life, maybe--for it was
dreadfully spare and thin.
To this distressful emblem of a great distress that had long been
growing worse, and was not at its worst, a woman was kneeling.
She turned her head as the carriage came up to her, rose quickly,
and presented herself at the carriage-door.
"It is you, Monseigneur! Monseigneur, a petition."
With an exclamation of impatience, but with his unchangeable face,
Monseigneur looked out.
"How, then! What is it? Always petitions!"
"Monseigneur. For the love of the great God! My husband, the forester."
"What of your husband, the forester? Always the same with you people.
He cannot pay something?"
"He has paid all, Monseigneur. He is dead."
"Well! He is quiet. Can I restore him to you?"
"Alas, no, Monseigneur! But he lies yonder, under a little heap of
"Monseigneur, there are so many little heaps of poor grass?"
She looked an old woman, but was young. Her manner was one of
passionate grief; by turns she clasped her veinous and knotted hands
together with wild energy, and laid one of them on the carriage-door
--tenderly, caressingly, as if it had been a human breast, and could
be expected to feel the appealing touch.
"Monseigneur, hear me! Monseigneur, hear my petition! My husband
died of want; so many die of want; so many more will die of want."
"Again, well? Can I feed them?"
"Monseigneur, the good God knows; but I don't ask it. My petition is,
that a morsel of stone or wood, with my husband's name, may be placed
over him to show where he lies. Otherwise, the place will be quickly
forgotten, it will never be found when I am dead of the same malady,
I shall be laid under some other heap of poor grass. Monseigneur,
they are so many, they increase so fast, there is so much want.
The valet had put her away from the door, the carriage had broken
into a brisk trot, the postilions had quickened the pace, she was
left far behind, and Monseigneur, again escorted by the Furies, was
rapidly diminishing the league or two of distance that remained
between him and his chateau.
The sweet scents of the summer night rose all around him, and rose,
as the rain falls, impartially, on the dusty, ragged, and toil-worn
group at the fountain not far away; to whom the mender of roads, with
the aid of the blue cap without which he was nothing, still enlarged
upon his man like a spectre, as long as they could bear it.
By degrees, as they could bear no more, they dropped off one by one,
and lights twinkled in little casements; which lights, as the
casements darkened, and more stars came out, seemed to have shot up
into the sky instead of having been extinguished.
The shadow of a large high-roofed house, and of many over-hanging
trees, was upon Monsieur the Marquis by that time; and the shadow was
exchanged for the light of a flambeau, as his carriage stopped,
and the great door of his chateau was opened to him.
"Monsieur Charles, whom I expect; is he arrived from England?"
"Monseigneur, not yet."
The Gorgon's Head
It was a heavy mass of building, that chateau of Monsieur the Marquis,
with a large stone courtyard before it, and two stone sweeps of
staircase meeting in a stone terrace before the principal door.
A stony business altogether, with heavy stone balustrades, and stone
urns, and stone flowers, and stone faces of men, and stone heads of
lions, in all directions. As if the Gorgon's head had surveyed it,
when it was finished, two centuries ago.
Up the broad flight of shallow steps, Monsieur the Marquis, flambeau
preceded, went from his carriage, sufficiently disturbing the darkness
to elicit loud remonstrance from an owl in the roof of the great pile
of stable building away among the trees. All else was so quiet, that
the flambeau carried up the steps, and the other flambeau held at the
great door, burnt as if they were in a close room of state, instead
of being in the open night-air. Other sound than the owl's voice
there was none, save the failing of a fountain into its stone basin;
for, it was one of those dark nights that hold their breath by the hour
together, and then heave a long low sigh, and hold their breath again.
The great door clanged behind him, and Monsieur the Marquis crossed
a hall grim with certain old boar-spears, swords, and knives of the
chase; grimmer with certain heavy riding-rods and riding-whips, of
which many a peasant, gone to his benefactor Death, had felt the
weight when his lord was angry.
Avoiding the larger rooms, which were dark and made fast for the
night, Monsieur the Marquis, with his flambeau-bearer going on before,
went up the staircase to a door in a corridor. This thrown open,
admitted him to his own private apartment of three rooms:
his bed-chamber and two others. High vaulted rooms with cool
uncarpeted floors, great dogs upon the hearths for the burning
of wood in winter time, and all luxuries befitting the state
of a marquis in a luxurious age and country. The fashion
of the last Louis but one, of the line that was never to break
--the fourteenth Louis--was conspicuous in their rich furniture;
but, it was diversified by many objects that were illustrations
of old pages in the history of France.
A supper-table was laid for two, in the third of the rooms; a round
room, in one of the chateau's four extinguisher-topped towers.
A small lofty room, with its window wide open, and the wooden
jalousie-blinds closed, so that the dark night only showed in slight
horizontal lines of black, alternating with their broad lines of
"My nephew," said the Marquis, glancing at the supper preparation;
"they said he was not arrived."
Nor was he; but, he had been expected with Monseigneur.
"Ah! It is not probable he will arrive to-night; nevertheless, leave
the table as it is. I shall be ready in a quarter of an hour."
In a quarter of an hour Monseigneur was ready, and sat down alone
to his sumptuous and choice supper. His chair was opposite to the
window, and he had taken his soup, and was raising his glass of
Bordeaux to his lips, when he put it down.
"What is that?" he calmly asked, looking with attention at the
horizontal lines of black and stone colour.
"Outside the blinds. Open the blinds."
It was done.
"Monseigneur, it is nothing. The trees and the night are all that
The servant who spoke, had thrown the blinds wide, had looked out
into the vacant darkness, and stood with that blank behind him,
looking round for instructions.
"Good," said the imperturbable master. "Close them again."
That was done too, and the Marquis went on with his supper. He was
half way through it, when he again stopped with his glass in his
hand, hearing the sound of wheels. It came on briskly, and came up
to the front of the chateau.
"Ask who is arrived."
It was the nephew of Monseigneur. He had been some few leagues
behind Monseigneur, early in the afternoon. He had diminished the
distance rapidly, but not so rapidly as to come up with Monseigneur
on the road. He had heard of Monseigneur, at the posting-houses,
as being before him.
He was to be told (said Monseigneur) that supper awaited him then and
there, and that he was prayed to come to it. In a little while he came.
He had been known in England as Charles Darnay.
Monseigneur received him in a courtly manner, but they did not shake hands.
"You left Paris yesterday, sir?" he said to Monseigneur, as he took
his seat at table.
"Yesterday. And you?"
"I come direct."
"You have been a long time coming," said the Marquis, with a smile.
"On the contrary; I come direct."
"Pardon me! I mean, not a long time on the journey; a long time
intending the journey."
"I have been detained by"--the nephew stopped a moment in his
"Without doubt," said the polished uncle.
So long as a servant was present, no other words passed between them.
When coffee had been served and they were alone together, the nephew,
looking at the uncle and meeting the eyes of the face that was like a
fine mask, opened a conversation.
"I have come back, sir, as you anticipate, pursuing the object that
took me away. It carried me into great and unexpected peril; but it
is a sacred object, and if it had carried me to death I hope it would
have sustained me."
"Not to death," said the uncle; "it is not necessary to say, to death."
"I doubt, sir," returned the nephew, "whether, if it had carried me
to the utmost brink of death, you would have cared to stop me there."
The deepened marks in the nose, and the lengthening of the fine
straight lines in the cruel face, looked ominous as to that; the
uncle made a graceful gesture of protest, which was so clearly a
slight form of good breeding that it was not reassuring.
"Indeed, sir," pursued the nephew, "for anything I know, you may
have expressly worked to give a more suspicious appearance to the
suspicious circumstances that surrounded me."
"No, no, no," said the uncle, pleasantly.
"But, however that may be," resumed the nephew, glancing at him with
deep distrust, "I know that your diplomacy would stop me by any
means, and would know no scruple as to means."
"My friend, I told you so," said the uncle, with a fine pulsation in
the two marks. "Do me the favour to recall that I told you so, long ago."
"I recall it."
"Thank you," said the Marquise--very sweetly indeed.
His tone lingered in the air, almost like the tone of a musical
"In effect, sir," pursued the nephew, "I believe it to be at once
your bad fortune, and my good fortune, that has kept me out of a
prison in France here."
"I do not quite understand," returned the uncle, sipping his coffee.
"Dare I ask you to explain?"
"I believe that if you were not in disgrace with the Court,
and had not been overshadowed by that cloud for years past, a letter
de cachet would have sent me to some fortress indefinitely."
"It is possible," said the uncle, with great calmness. "For the
honour of the family, I could even resolve to incommode you to that
extent. Pray excuse me!"
"I perceive that, happily for me, the Reception of the day before
yesterday was, as usual, a cold one," observed the nephew.
"I would not say happily, my friend," returned the uncle, with
refined politeness; "I would not be sure of that. A good opportunity
for consideration, surrounded by the advantages of solitude, might
influence your destiny to far greater advantage than you influence it
for yourself. But it is useless to discuss the question. I am, as
you say, at a disadvantage. These little instruments of correction,
these gentle aids to the power and honour of families, these slight
favours that might so incommode you, are only to be obtained now by
interest and importunity. They are sought by so many, and they are
granted (comparatively) to so few! It used not to be so, but France
in all such things is changed for the worse. Our not remote
ancestors held the right of life and death over the surrounding
vulgar. From this room, many such dogs have been taken out to be
hanged; in the next room (my bedroom), one fellow, to our knowledge,
was poniarded on the spot for professing some insolent delicacy
respecting his daughter--HIS daughter? We have lost many privileges;
a new philosophy has become the mode; and the assertion of our
station, in these days, might (I do not go so far as to say would,
but might) cause us real inconvenience. All very bad, very bad!"
The Marquis took a gentle little pinch of snuff, and shook his head;
as elegantly despondent as he could becomingly be of a country still
containing himself, that great means of regeneration.
"We have so asserted our station, both in the old time and in the
modern time also," said the nephew, gloomily, "that I believe our
name to be more detested than any name in France."
"Let us hope so," said the uncle. "Detestation of the high is the
involuntary homage of the low."
"There is not," pursued the nephew, in his former tone, "a face I can
look at, in all this country round about us, which looks at me with
any deference on it but the dark deference of fear and slavery."
"A compliment," said the Marquis, "to the grandeur of the family,
merited by the manner in which the family has sustained its grandeur.
Hah!" And he took another gentle little pinch of snuff, and lightly
crossed his legs.
But, when his nephew, leaning an elbow on the table, covered his eyes
thoughtfully and dejectedly with his hand, the fine mask looked at him
sideways with a stronger concentration of keenness, closeness, and dislike,
than was comportable with its wearer's assumption of indifference.
"Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of
fear and slavery, my friend," observed the Marquis, "will keep the
dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof," looking up to it,
"shuts out the sky."
That might not be so long as the Marquis supposed. If a picture of
the chateau as it was to be a very few years hence, and of fifty like
it as they too were to be a very few years hence, could have been
shown to him that night, he might have been at a loss to claim his
own from the ghastly, fire-charred, plunder-wrecked rains. As for
the roof he vaunted, he might have found THAT shutting out the sky
in a new way--to wit, for ever, from the eyes of the bodies into which
its lead was fired, out of the barrels of a hundred thousand muskets.
"Meanwhile," said the Marquis, "I will preserve the honour and repose
of the family, if you will not. But you must be fatigued. Shall we
terminate our conference for the night?"
"A moment more."
"An hour, if you please."
"Sir," said the nephew, "we have done wrong, and are reaping the
fruits of wrong."
"WE have done wrong?" repeated the Marquis, with an inquiring
smile, and delicately pointing, first to his nephew, then to himself.
"Our family; our honourable family, whose honour is of so much
account to both of us, in such different ways. Even in my father's
time, we did a world of wrong, injuring every human creature who came
between us and our pleasure, whatever it was. Why need I speak of my
father's time, when it is equally yours? Can I separate my father's
twin-brother, joint inheritor, and next successor, from himself?"
"Death has done that!" said the Marquis.
"And has left me," answered the nephew, "bound to a system that is
frightful to me, responsible for it, but powerless in it; seeking to
execute the last request of my dear mother's lips, and obey the last
look of my dear mother's eyes, which implored me to have mercy and to
redress; and tortured by seeking assistance and power in vain."
"Seeking them from me, my nephew," said the Marquis, touching him on
the breast with his forefinger--they were now standing by the
hearth--"you will for ever seek them in vain, be assured."
Every fine straight line in the clear whiteness of his face, was
cruelly, craftily, and closely compressed, while he stood looking
quietly at his nephew, with his snuff-box in his hand. Once again he
touched him on the breast, as though his finger were the fine point
of a small sword, with which, in delicate finesse, he ran him through
the body, and said,
"My friend, I will die, perpetuating the system under which I have lived."
When he had said it, he took a culminating pinch of snuff, and put
his box in his pocket.
"Better to be a rational creature," he added then, after ringing a
small bell on the table, "and accept your natural destiny. But you
are lost, Monsieur Charles, I see."
"This property and France are lost to me," said the nephew, sadly;
"I renounce them."
"Are they both yours to renounce? France may be, but is the property?
It is scarcely worth mentioning; but, is it yet?"
"I had no intention, in the words I used, to claim it yet. If it
passed to me from you, to-morrow--"
"Which I have the vanity to hope is not probable."
"--or twenty years hence--"
"You do me too much honour," said the Marquis; "still, I prefer that
"--I would abandon it, and live otherwise and elsewhere. It is
little to relinquish. What is it but a wilderness of misery and ruin!"
"Hah!" said the Marquis, glancing round the luxurious room.
"To the eye it is fair enough, here; but seen in its integrity, under
the sky, and by the daylight, it is a crumbling tower of waste,
mismanagement, extortion, debt, mortgage, oppression, hunger,
nakedness, and suffering."
"Hah!" said the Marquis again, in a well-satisfied manner.
"If it ever becomes mine, it shall be put into some hands better
qualified to free it slowly (if such a thing is possible) from the
weight that drags it down, so that the miserable people who cannot
leave it and who have been long wrung to the last point of endurance,
may, in another generation, suffer less; but it is not for me.
There is a curse on it, and on all this land."
"And you?" said the uncle. "Forgive my curiosity; do you, under your
new philosophy, graciously intend to live?"
"I must do, to live, what others of my countrymen, even with nobility
at their backs, may have to do some day-work."
"In England, for example?"
"Yes. The family honour, sir, is safe from me in this country. The
family name can suffer from me in no other, for I bear it in no other."
The ringing of the bell had caused the adjoining bed-chamber to be
lighted. It now shone brightly, through the door of communication.
The Marquis looked that way, and listened for the retreating step of
"England is very attractive to you, seeing how indifferently you have
prospered there," he observed then, turning his calm face to his
nephew with a smile.
"I have already said, that for my prospering there, I am sensible I
may be indebted to you, sir. For the rest, it is my Refuge."
"They say, those boastful English, that it is the Refuge of many.
You know a compatriot who has found a Refuge there? A Doctor?"
"With a daughter?"
"Yes," said the Marquis. "You are fatigued. Good night!"
As he bent his head in his most courtly manner, there was a secrecy
in his smiling face, and he conveyed an air of mystery to those
words, which struck the eyes and ears of his nephew forcibly. At the
same time, the thin straight lines of the setting of the eyes, and
the thin straight lips, and the markings in the nose, curved with a
sarcasm that looked handsomely diabolic.
"Yes," repeated the Marquis. "A Doctor with a daughter. Yes.
So commences the new philosophy! You are fatigued. Good night!"
It would have been of as much avail to interrogate any stone face
outside the chateau as to interrogate that face of his. The nephew
looked at him, in vain, in passing on to the door.
"Good night!" said the uncle. "I look to the pleasure of seeing you
again in the morning. Good repose! Light Monsieur my nephew to his
chamber there!--And burn Monsieur my nephew in his bed, if you will,"
he added to himself, before he rang his little bell again, and summoned
his valet to his own bedroom.
The valet come and gone, Monsieur the Marquis walked to and fro in
his loose chamber-robe, to prepare himself gently for sleep, that hot
still night. Rustling about the room, his softly-slippered feet
making no noise on the floor, he moved like a refined tiger:--looked
like some enchanted marquis of the impenitently wicked sort, in story,
whose periodical change into tiger form was either just going off, or
just coming on.
He moved from end to end of his voluptuous bedroom, looking again at
the scraps of the day's journey that came unbidden into his mind; the
slow toil up the hill at sunset, the setting sun, the descent, the
mill, the prison on the crag, the little village in the hollow, the
peasants at the fountain, and the mender of roads with his blue cap
pointing out the chain under the carriage. That fountain suggested
the Paris fountain, the little bundle lying on the step, the women
bending over it, and the tall man with his arms up, crying, "Dead!"
"I am cool now," said Monsieur the Marquis, "and may go to bed."
So, leaving only one light burning on the large hearth, he let his
thin gauze curtains fall around him, and heard the night break its
silence with a long sigh as he composed himself to sleep.
The stone faces on the outer walls stared blindly at the black night
for three heavy hours; for three heavy hours, the horses in the
stables rattled at their racks, the dogs barked, and the owl made a
noise with very little resemblance in it to the noise conventionally
assigned to the owl by men-poets. But it is the obstinate custom of
such creatures hardly ever to say what is set down for them.
For three heavy hours, the stone faces of the chateau, lion and
human, stared blindly at the night. Dead darkness lay on all the
landscape, dead darkness added its own hush to the hushing dust on
all the roads. The burial-place had got to the pass that its little
heaps of poor grass were undistinguishable from one another; the
figure on the Cross might have come down, for anything that could be
seen of it. In the village, taxers and taxed were fast asleep.
Dreaming, perhaps, of banquets, as the starved usually do, and of
ease and rest, as the driven slave and the yoked ox may, its lean
inhabitants slept soundly, and were fed and freed.
The fountain in the village flowed unseen and unheard, and the
fountain at the chateau dropped unseen and unheard--both melting
away, like the minutes that were falling from the spring of Time--
through three dark hours. Then, the grey water of both began to be
ghostly in the light, and the eyes of the stone faces of the chateau
Lighter and lighter, until at last the sun touched the tops of the
still trees, and poured its radiance over the hill. In the glow,
the water of the chateau fountain seemed to turn to blood, and the
stone faces crimsoned. The carol of the birds was loud and high,
and, on the weather-beaten sill of the great window of the bed-
chamber of Monsieur the Marquis, one little bird sang its sweetest
song with all its might. At this, the nearest stone face seemed
to stare amazed, and, with open mouth and dropped under-jaw, looked
Now, the sun was full up, and movement began in the village.
Casement windows opened, crazy doors were unbarred, and people came
forth shivering--chilled, as yet, by the new sweet air. Then began
the rarely lightened toil of the day among the village population.
Some, to the fountain; some, to the fields; men and women here, to
dig and delve; men and women there, to see to the poor live stock,
and lead the bony cows out, to such pasture as could be found by the
roadside. In the church and at the Cross, a kneeling figure or two;
attendant on the latter prayers, the led cow, trying for a breakfast
among the weeds at its foot.
The chateau awoke later, as became its quality, but awoke gradually
and surely. First, the lonely boar-spears and knives of the chase
had been reddened as of old; then, had gleamed trenchant in the
morning sunshine; now, doors and windows were thrown open, horses
in their stables looked round over their shoulders at the light and
freshness pouring in at doorways, leaves sparkled and rustled at
iron-grated windows, dogs pulled hard at their chains, and reared
impatient to be loosed.
All these trivial incidents belonged to the routine of life, and the
return of morning. Surely, not so the ringing of the great bell of
the chateau, nor the running up and down the stairs; nor the hurried
figures on the terrace; nor the booting and tramping here and there
and everywhere, nor the quick saddling of horses and riding away?
What winds conveyed this hurry to the grizzled mender of roads,
already at work on the hill-top beyond the village, with his day's
dinner (not much to carry) lying in a bundle that it was worth no
crow's while to peck at, on a heap of stones? Had the birds, carrying
some grains of it to a distance, dropped one over him as they sow
chance seeds? Whether or no, the mender of roads ran, on the sultry
morning, as if for his life, down the hill, knee-high in dust, and
never stopped till he got to the fountain.
All the people of the village were at the fountain, standing about in
their depressed manner, and whispering low, but showing no other
emotions than grim curiosity and surprise. The led cows, hastily
brought in and tethered to anything that would hold them, were looking
stupidly on, or lying down chewing the cud of nothing particularly
repaying their trouble, which they had picked up in their interrupted
saunter. Some of the people of the chateau, and some of those of the
posting-house, and all the taxing authorities, were armed more or less,
and were crowded on the other side of the little street in a
purposeless way, that was highly fraught with nothing. Already,
the mender of roads had penetrated into the midst of a group of fifty
particular friends, and was smiting himself in the breast with his
blue cap. What did all this portend, and what portended the swift
hoisting-up of Monsieur Gabelle behind a servant on horseback, and
the conveying away of the said Gabelle (double-laden though the horse
was), at a gallop, like a new version of the German ballad of Leonora?
It portended that there was one stone face too many, up at the chateau.
The Gorgon had surveyed the building again in the night, and had
added the one stone face wanting; the stone face for which it had
waited through about two hundred years.
It lay back on the pillow of Monsieur the Marquis. It was like a
fine mask, suddenly startled, made angry, and petrified. Driven home
into the heart of the stone figure attached to it, was a knife.
Round its hilt was a frill of paper, on which was scrawled:
"Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from Jacques."
More months, to the number of twelve, had come and gone, and Mr.
Charles Darnay was established in England as a higher teacher of the
French language who was conversant with French literature. In this
age, he would have been a Professor; in that age, he was a Tutor.
He read with young men who could find any leisure and interest for
the study of a living tongue spoken all over the world, and he
cultivated a taste for its stores of knowledge and fancy. He could
write of them, besides, in sound English, and render them into sound
English. Such masters were not at that time easily found; Princes
that had been, and Kings that were to be, were not yet of the Teacher
class, and no ruined nobility had dropped out of Tellson's ledgers,
to turn cooks and carpenters. As a tutor, whose attainments made the
student's way unusually pleasant and profitable, and as an elegant
translator who brought something to his work besides mere dictionary
knowledge, young Mr. Darnay soon became known and encouraged. He was
well acquainted, more-over, with the circumstances of his country,
and those were of ever-growing interest. So, with great perseverance
and untiring industry, he prospered.
In London, he had expected neither to walk on pavements of gold, nor
to lie on beds of roses; if he had had any such exalted expectation,
he would not have prospered. He had expected labour, and he found it,
and did it and made the best of it. In this, his prosperity consisted.
A certain portion of his time was passed at Cambridge, where he read
with undergraduates as a sort of tolerated smuggler who drove a
contraband trade in European languages, instead of conveying Greek
and Latin through the Custom-house. The rest of his time he passed
Now, from the days when it was always summer in Eden, to these days
when it is mostly winter in fallen latitudes, the world of a man has
invariably gone one way--Charles Darnay's way--the way of the love of
He had loved Lucie Manette from the hour of his danger. He had never
heard a sound so sweet and dear as the sound of her compassionate
voice; he had never seen a face so tenderly beautiful, as hers when
it was confronted with his own on the edge of the grave that had been
dug for him. But, he had not yet spoken to her on the subject;
the assassination at the deserted chateau far away beyond the heaving
water and the long, tong, dusty roads--the solid stone chateau which
had itself become the mere mist of a dream--had been done a year,
and he had never yet, by so much as a single spoken word, disclosed
to her the state of his heart.
That he had his reasons for this, he knew full well. It was again a
summer day when, lately arrived in London from his college occupation,
he turned into the quiet corner in Soho, bent on seeking an opportunity
of opening his mind to Doctor Manette. It was the close of the
summer day, and he knew Lucie to be out with Miss Pross.
He found the Doctor reading in his arm-chair at a window. The energy
which had at once supported him under his old sufferings and aggravated
their sharpness, had been gradually restored to him. He was now a
very energetic man indeed, with great firmness of purpose, strength
of resolution, and vigour of action. In his recovered energy he was
sometimes a little fitful and sudden, as he had at first been in the
exercise of his other recovered faculties; but, this had never been
frequently observable, and had grown more and more rare.
He studied much, slept little, sustained a great deal of fatigue with
ease, and was equably cheerful. To him, now entered Charles Darnay,
at sight of whom he laid aside his book and held out his hand.
"Charles Darnay! I rejoice to see you. We have been counting on your
return these three or four days past. Mr. Stryver and Sydney Carton
were both here yesterday, and both made you out to be more than due."
"I am obliged to them for their interest in the matter," he answered,
a little coldly as to them, though very warmly as to the Doctor.
"Is well," said the Doctor, as he stopped short, "and your return
will delight us all. She has gone out on some household matters,
but will soon be home."
"Doctor Manette, I knew she was from home. I took the opportunity of
her being from home, to beg to speak to you."
There was a blank silence.
"Yes?" said the Doctor, with evident constraint. "Bring your chair here,
and speak on."
He complied as to the chair, but appeared to find the speaking on
"I have had the happiness, Doctor Manette, of being so intimate
here," so he at length began, "for some year and a half, that I hope
the topic on which I am about to touch may not--"
He was stayed by the Doctor's putting out his hand to stop him.
When he had kept it so a little while, he said, drawing it back:
"Is Lucie the topic?"
"It is hard for me to speak of her at any time. It is very hard for
me to hear her spoken of in that tone of yours, Charles Darnay."
"It is a tone of fervent admiration, true homage, and deep love,
Doctor Manette!" he said deferentially.
There was another blank silence before her father rejoined:
"I believe it. I do you justice; I believe it."
His constraint was so manifest, and it was so manifest, too, that it
originated in an unwillingness to approach the subject, that Charles
"Shall I go on, sir?"
"Yes, go on."
"You anticipate what I would say, though you cannot know how earnestly
I say it, how earnestly I feel it, without knowing my secret heart,
and the hopes and fears and anxieties with which it has long been
laden. Dear Doctor Manette, I love your daughter fondly, dearly,
disinterestedly, devotedly. If ever there were love in the world,
I love her. You have loved yourself; let your old love speak for me!"
The Doctor sat with his face turned away, and his eyes bent on the
ground. At the last words, he stretched out his hand again, hurriedly,
"Not that, sir! Let that be! I adjure you, do not recall that!"
His cry was so like a cry of actual pain, that it rang in Charles
Darnay's ears long after he had ceased. He motioned with the hand he
had extended, and it seemed to be an appeal to Darnay to pause.
The latter so received it, and remained silent.
"I ask your pardon," said the Doctor, in a subdued tone, after some
moments. "I do not doubt your loving Lucie; you may be satisfied of it."
He turned towards him in his chair, but did not look at him, or raise
his eyes. His chin dropped upon his hand, and his white hair
overshadowed his face:
"Have you spoken to Lucie?"
"It would be ungenerous to affect not to know that your self-denial
is to be referred to your consideration for her father. Her father
He offered his hand; but his eyes did not go with it.
"I know," said Darnay, respectfully, "how can I fail to know,
Doctor Manette, I who have seen you together from day to day,
that between you and Miss Manette there is an affection so unusual,
so touching, so belonging to the circumstances in which it has been
nurtured, that it can have few parallels, even in the tenderness
between a father and child. I know, Doctor Manette--how can I fail
to know--that, mingled with the affection and duty of a daughter who
has become a woman, there is, in her heart, towards you, all the love
and reliance of infancy itself. I know that, as in her childhood she
had no parent, so she is now devoted to you with all the constancy
and fervour of her present years and character, united to the
trustfulness and attachment of the early days in which you were lost
to her. I know perfectly well that if you had been restored to her
from the world beyond this life, you could hardly be invested, in her
sight, with a more sacred character than that in which you are always
with her. I know that when she is clinging to you, the hands of baby,
girl, and woman, all in one, are round your neck. I know that in
loving you she sees and loves her mother at her own age, sees and
loves you at my age, loves her mother broken-hearted, loves you
through your dreadful trial and in your blessed restoration. I have
known this, night and day, since I have known you in your home."
Her father sat silent, with his face bent down. His breathing was a
little quickened; but he repressed all other signs of agitation.
"Dear Doctor Manette, always knowing this, always seeing her and you
with this hallowed light about you, I have forborne, and forborne,
as long as it was in the nature of man to do it. I have felt, and do
even now feel, that to bring my love--even mine--between you, is to
touch your history with something not quite so good as itself.
But I love her. Heaven is my witness that I love her!"
"I believe it," answered her father, mournfully. "I have thought so
before now. I believe it."
"But, do not believe," said Darnay, upon whose ear the mournful voice
struck with a reproachful sound, "that if my fortune were so cast as
that, being one day so happy as to make her my wife, I must at any
time put any separation between her and you, I could or would breathe
a word of what I now say. Besides that I should know it to be
hopeless, I should know it to be a baseness. If I had any such
possibility, even at a remote distance of years, harboured in my
thoughts, and hidden in my heart--if it ever had been there--if it
ever could be there--I could not now touch this honoured hand."
He laid his own upon it as he spoke.
"No, dear Doctor Manette. Like you, a voluntary exile from France;
like you, driven from it by its distractions, oppressions, and
miseries; like you, striving to live away from it by my own exertions,
and trusting in a happier future; I look only to sharing your fortunes,
sharing your life and home, and being faithful to you to the death.
Not to divide with Lucie her privilege as your child, companion, and
friend; but to come in aid of it, and bind her closer to you, if such
a thing can be."
His touch still lingered on her father's hand. Answering the touch
for a moment, but not coldly, her father rested his hands upon the
arms of his chair, and looked up for the first time since the
beginning of the conference. A struggle was evidently in his face;
a struggle with that occasional look which had a tendency in it to
dark doubt and dread.
"You speak so feelingly and so manfully, Charles Darnay, that I thank
you with all my heart, and will open all my heart--or nearly so.
Have you any reason to believe that Lucie loves you?"
"None. As yet, none."
"Is it the immediate object of this confidence, that you may at once
ascertain that, with my knowledge?"
"Not even so. I might not have the hopefulness to do it for weeks;
I might (mistaken or not mistaken) have that hopefulness to-morrow."
"Do you seek any guidance from me?"
"I ask none, sir. But I have thought it possible that you might have
it in your power, if you should deem it right, to give me some."
"Do you seek any promise from me?"
"I do seek that."
"What is it?"
"I well understand that, without you, I could have no hope. I well
understand that, even if Miss Manette held me at this moment in her
innocent heart-do not think I have the presumption to assume so much--
I could retain no place in it against her love for her father."
"If that be so, do you see what, on the other hand, is involved in it?"
"I understand equally well, that a word from her father in any suitor's
favour, would outweigh herself and all the world. For which reason,
Doctor Manette," said Darnay, modestly but firmly, "I would not ask
that word, to save my life."
"I am sure of it. Charles Darnay, mysteries arise out of close love,
as well as out of wide division; in the former case, they are subtle
and delicate, and difficult to penetrate. My daughter Lucie is, in
this one respect, such a mystery to me; I can make no guess at the
state of her heart."
"May I ask, sir, if you think she is--" As he hesitated, her father
supplied the rest.
"Is sought by any other suitor?"
"It is what I meant to say."
Her father considered a little before he answered:
"You have seen Mr. Carton here, yourself. Mr. Stryver is here too,
occasionally. If it be at all, it can only be by one of these."
"Or both," said Darnay.
"I had not thought of both; I should not think either, likely.
You want a promise from me. Tell me what it is."
"It is, that if Miss Manette should bring to you at any time, on her
own part, such a confidence as I have ventured to lay before you,
you will bear testimony to what I have said, and to your belief in it.
I hope you may be able to think so well of me, as to urge no influence
against me. I say nothing more of my stake in this; this is what I ask.
The condition on which I ask it, and which you have an undoubted right
to require, I will observe immediately."
"I give the promise," said the Doctor, "without any condition.
I believe your object to be, purely and truthfully, as you have
stated it. I believe your intention is to perpetuate, and not to
weaken, the ties between me and my other and far dearer self. If she
should ever tell me that you are essential to her perfect happiness,
I will give her to you. If there were--Charles Darnay, if there were--"
The young man had taken his hand gratefully; their hands were joined
as the Doctor spoke:
"--any fancies, any reasons, any apprehensions, anything whatsoever,
new or old, against the man she really loved--the direct responsibility
thereof not lying on his head--they should all be obliterated for her
sake. She is everything to me; more to me than suffering, more to me
than wrong, more to me--Well! This is idle talk."
So strange was the way in which he faded into silence, and so strange
his fixed look when he had ceased to speak, that Darnay felt his own
hand turn cold in the hand that slowly released and dropped it.
"You said something to me," said Doctor Manette, breaking into a smile.
"What was it you said to me?"
He was at a loss how to answer, until he remembered having spoken of
a condition. Relieved as his mind reverted to that, he answered:
"Your confidence in me ought to be returned with full confidence on
my part. My present name, though but slightly changed from my
mother's, is not, as you will remember, my own. I wish to tell you
what that is, and why I am in England."
"Stop!" said the Doctor of Beauvais.
"I wish it, that I may the better deserve your confidence, and have
no secret from you."
For an instant, the Doctor even had his two hands at his ears; for
another instant, even had his two hands laid on Darnay's lips.
"Tell me when I ask you, not now. If your suit should prosper, if
Lucie should love you, you shall tell me on your marriage morning.
Do you promise?"
"Give me your hand. She will be home directly, and it is better she
should not see us together to-night. Go! God bless you!"
It was dark when Charles Darnay left him, and it was an hour later
and darker when Lucie came home; she hurried into the room alone--
for Miss Pross had gone straight up-stairs--and was surprised to find
his reading-chair empty.
"My father!" she called to him. "Father dear!"
Nothing was said in answer, but she heard a low hammering sound in
his bedroom. Passing lightly across the intermediate room, she
looked in at his door and came running back frightened, crying to
herself, with her blood all chilled, "What shall I do! What shall I do!"
Her uncertainty lasted but a moment; she hurried back, and tapped at
his door, and softly called to him. The noise ceased at the sound of
her voice, and he presently came out to her, and they walked up and
down together for a long time.
She came down from her bed, to look at him in his sleep that night.
He slept heavily, and his tray of shoemaking tools, and his old
unfinished work, were all as usual.
A Companion Picture
"Sydney," said Mr. Stryver, on that self-same night, or morning, to his
jackal; "mix another bowl of punch; I have something to say to you."
Sydney had been working double tides that night, and the night before,
and the night before that, and a good many nights in succession, making
a grand clearance among Mr. Stryver's papers before the setting in of
the long vacation. The clearance was effected at last; the Stryver
arrears were handsomely fetched up; everything was got rid of until
November should come with its fogs atmospheric, and fogs legal, and
bring grist to the mill again.
Sydney was none the livelier and none the soberer for so much application.
It had taken a deal of extra wet-towelling to pull him through the night;
a correspondingly extra quantity of wine had preceded the towelling;
and he was in a very damaged condition, as he now pulled his turban
off and threw it into the basin in which he had steeped it at intervals
for the last six hours.
"Are you mixing that other bowl of punch?" said Stryver the portly,
with his hands in his waistband, glancing round from the sofa where
he lay on his back.
"Now, look here! I am going to tell you something that will rather
surprise you, and that perhaps will make you think me not quite as
shrewd as you usually do think me. I intend to marry."
"Yes. And not for money. What do you say now?"
"I don't feel disposed to say much. Who is she?"
"Do I know her?"
"I am not going to guess, at five o'clock in the morning, with my
brains frying and sputtering in my head. if you want me to guess, you
must ask me to dinner."
"Well then, I'll tell you," said Stryver, coming slowly into a sitting
posture. "Sydney, I rather despair of making myself intelligible to you,
because you are such an insensible dog."
"And you," returned Sydney, busy concocting the punch, "are such a
sensitive and poetical spirit--"
"Come!" rejoined Stryver, laughing boastfully, "though I don't prefer
any claim to being the soul of Romance (for I hope I know better),
still I am a tenderer sort of fellow than YOU."
"You are a luckier, if you mean that."
"I don't mean that. I mean I am a man of more--more--"
"Say gallantry, while you are about it," suggested Carton.
"Well! I'll say gallantry. My meaning is that I am a man," said
Stryver, inflating himself at his friend as he made the punch,
"who cares more to be agreeable, who takes more pains to be agreeable,
who knows better how to be agreeable, in a woman's society, than you do."
"Go on," said Sydney Carton.
"No; but before I go on," said Stryver, shaking his head in his bullying
way, I'll have this out with you. You've been at Doctor Manette's
house as much as I have, or more than I have. Why, I have been ashamed
of your moroseness there! Your manners have been of that silent and
sullen and hangdog kind, that, upon my life and soul, I have been
ashamed of you, Sydney!"
"It should be very beneficial to a man in your practice at the bar,
to be ashamed of anything," returned Sydney; "you ought to be much
obliged to me."
"You shall not get off in that way," rejoined Stryver, shouldering the
rejoinder at him; "no, Sydney, it's my duty to tell you--and I tell you
to your face to do you good--that you are a devilish ill-conditioned
fellow in that sort of society. You are a disagreeable fellow."
Sydney drank a bumper of the punch he had made, and laughed.
"Look at me!" said Stryver, squaring himself; "I have less need to
make myself agreeable than you have, being more independent in
circumstances. Why do I do it?"
"I never saw you do it yet," muttered Carton.
"I do it because it's politic; I do it on principle. And look at me!
I get on."
"You don't get on with your account of your matrimonial intentions,"
answered Carton, with a careless air; "I wish you would keep to that.
As to me--will you never understand that I am incorrigible?"
He asked the question with some appearance of scorn.
"You have no business to be incorrigible," was his friend's answer,
delivered in no very soothing tone.
"I have no business to be, at all, that I know of," said Sydney Carton.
"Who is the lady?"
"Now, don't let my announcement of the name make you uncomfortable,
Sydney," said Mr. Stryver, preparing him with ostentatious
friendliness for the disclosure he was about to make, "because I know
you don't mean half you say; and if you meant it all, it would be of
no importance. I make this little preface, because you once mentioned
the young lady to me in slighting terms."
"Certainly; and in these chambers."
Sydney Carton looked at his punch and looked at his complacent friend;
drank his punch and looked at his complacent friend.
"You made mention of the young lady as a golden-haired doll. The young
lady is Miss Manette. If you had been a fellow of any sensitiveness or
delicacy of feeling in that kind of way, Sydney, I might have been a
little resentful of your employing such a designation; but you are not.
You want that sense altogether; therefore I am no more annoyed when I
think of the expression, than I should be annoyed by a man's opinion of
a picture of mine, who had no eye for pictures: or of a piece of music
of mine, who had no ear for music."
Sydney Carton drank the punch at a great rate; drank it by bumpers,
looking at his friend.
"Now you know all about it, Syd," said Mr. Stryver. "I don't care
about fortune: she is a charming creature, and I have made up my mind
to please myself: on the whole, I think I can afford to please myself.
She will have in me a man already pretty well off, and a rapidly
rising man, and a man of some distinction: it is a piece of good fortune
for her, but she is worthy of good fortune. Are you astonished?"
Carton, still drinking the punch, rejoined, "Why should I be astonished?"
Carton, still drinking the punch, rejoined, "Why should I not approve?"
"Well!" said his friend Stryver, "you take it more easily than I
fancied you would, and are less mercenary on my behalf than I thought
you would be; though, to be sure, you know well enough by this time
that your ancient chum is a man of a pretty strong will. Yes, Sydney,
I have had enough of this style of life, with no other as a change
from it; I feel that it is a pleasant thing for a man to have a home
when he feels inclined to go to it (when he doesn't, he can stay away),
and I feel that Miss Manette will tell well in any station, and will
always do me credit. So I have made up my mind. And now, Sydney,
old boy, I want to say a word to YOU about YOUR prospects. You are
in a bad way, you know; you really are in a bad way. You don't know
the value of money, you live hard, you'll knock up one of these days,
and be ill and poor; you really ought to think about a nurse."
The prosperous patronage with which he said it, made him look twice
as big as he was, and four times as offensive.
"Now, let me recommend you," pursued Stryver, "to look it in the face.
I have looked it in the face, in my different way; look it in the face,
you, in your different way. Marry. Provide somebody to take care of you.
Never mind your having no enjoyment of women's society, nor understanding
of it, nor tact for it. Find out somebody. Find out some respectable
woman with a little property--somebody in the landlady way, or
lodging-letting way--and marry her, against a rainy day. That's the
kind of thing for YOU. Now think of it, Sydney."
"I'll think of it," said Sydney.
The Fellow of Delicacy
Mr. Stryver having made up his mind to that magnanimous bestowal of
good fortune on the Doctor's daughter, resolved to make her happiness