Part 1 - A Tale of Two Cities Audiobook by Charles Dickens (Book 01, Chs 01-06)


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