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Chapter 18 Nine Days

  • The marriage-day was shining brightly, and they were ready outside the close_oor of the Doctor’s room, where he was speaking with Charles Darnay. The_ere ready to go to church; the beautiful bride, Mr. Lorry, and Miss Pross—t_hom the event, through a gradual process of reconcilement to the inevitable, would have been one of absolute bliss, but for the yet lingering consideratio_hat her brother Solomon should have been the bridegroom.
  • “And so,” said Mr. Lorry, who could not sufficiently admire the bride, and wh_ad been moving round her to take in every point of her quiet, pretty dress; “and so it was for this, my sweet Lucie, that I brought you across th_hannel, such a baby’ Lord bless me’ How little I thought what I was doing!
  • How lightly I valued the obligation I was conferring on my friend Mr.
  • Charles!”
  • “You didn’t mean it,” remarked the matter-of-fact Miss Pross, “and therefor_ow could you know it? Nonsense!”
  • “Really? Well; but don’t cry,” said the gentle Mr. Lorry.
  • “I am not crying,” said Miss Pross; “you are.”
  • “I, my Pross?” (By this time, Mr. Lorry dared to be pleasant with her, o_ccasion.)
  • “You were, just now; I saw you do it, and I don’t wonder at it. Such a presen_f plate as you have made ’em, is enough to bring tears into anybody’s eyes.
  • There’s not a fork or a spoon in the collection,” said Miss Pross, “that _idn’t cry over, last night after the box came, till I couldn’t see it.”
  • “I am highly gratified,” said Mr. Lorry, “though, upon my honour, I had n_ntention of rendering those trifling articles of remembrance invisible to an_ne. Dear me! This is an occasion that makes a man speculate on all he ha_ost. Dear, dear, dear! To think that there might have been a Mrs. Lorry, an_ime these fifty years almost!”
  • “Not at all!” From Miss Pross.
  • “You think there never might have been a Mrs. Lorry?” asked the gentleman o_hat name.
  • “Pooh!” rejoined Miss Pross; “you were a bachelor in your cradle.”
  • “Well!” observed Mr. Lorry, beamingly adjusting his little wig, “that seem_robable, too.”
  • “And you were cut out for a bachelor,” pursued Miss Pross, “before you wer_ut in your cradle.”
  • “Then, I think,” said Mr. Lorry, “that I was very unhandsomely dealt with, an_hat I ought to have had a voice in the selection of my pattern. Enough! Now, my dear Lucie,” drawing his arm soothingly round her waist, “I hear the_oving in the next room, and Miss Pross and I, as two formal folks o_usiness, are anxious not to lose the final opportunity of saying something t_ou that you wish to hear. You leave your good father, my dear, in hands a_arnest and as loving as your own; he shall be taken every conceivable car_f; during the next fortnight, while you are in Warwickshire and thereabouts, even Tellson’s shall go to the wall (comparatively speaking) before him. An_hen, at the fortnight’s end, he comes to join you and your beloved husband, on your other fortnight’s trip in Wales, you shall say that we have sent hi_o you in the best health and in the happiest frame. Now, I hear Somebody’_tep coming to the door. Let me kiss my dear girl with an old-fashione_achelor blessing, before Somebody comes to claim his own.”
  • For a moment, he held the fair face from him to look at the well-remembere_xpression on the forehead, and then laid the bright golden hair against hi_ittle brown wig, with a genuine tenderness and delicacy which, if such thing_e old-fashioned, were as old as Adam.
  • The door of the Doctor’s room opened, and he came out with Charles Darnay. H_as so deadly pale—which had not been the case when they went in together—tha_o vestige of colour was to be seen in his face. But, in the composure of hi_anner he was unaltered, except that to the shrewd glance of Mr. Lorry i_isclosed some shadowy indication that the old air of avoidance and dread ha_ately passed over him, like a cold wind.
  • He gave his arm to his daughter, and took her down-stairs to the chariot whic_r. Lorry had hired in honour of the day. The rest followed in anothe_arriage, and soon, in a neighbouring church, where no strange eyes looked on, Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette were happily married.
  • Besides the glancing tears that shone among the smiles of the little grou_hen it was done, some diamonds, very bright and sparkling, glanced on th_ride’s hand, which were newly released from the dark obscurity of one of Mr.
  • Lorry’s pockets. They returned home to breakfast, and all went well, and i_ue course the golden hair that had mingled with the poor shoemaker’s whit_ocks in the Paris garret, were mingled with them again in the mornin_unlight, on the threshold of the door at parting.
  • It was a hard parting, though it was not for long. But her father cheered her, and said at last, gently disengaging himself from her enfolding arms, “Tak_er, Charles! She is yours!”
  • And her agitated hand waved to them from a chaise window, and she was gone.
  • The corner being out of the way of the idle and curious, and the preparation_aving been very simple and few, the Doctor, Mr. Lorry, and Miss Pross, wer_eft quite alone. It was when they turned into the welcome shade of the coo_ld hall, that Mr. Lorry observed a great change to have come over the Doctor; as if the golden arm uplifted there, had struck him a poisoned blow.
  • He had naturally repressed much, and some revulsion might have been expecte_n him when the occasion for repression was gone. But, it was the old scare_ost look that troubled Mr. Lorry; and through his absent manner of claspin_is head and drearily wandering away into his own room when they got up- stairs, Mr. Lorry was reminded of Defarge the wine-shop keeper, and th_tarlight ride.
  • “I think,” he whispered to Miss Pross, after anxious consideration, “I thin_e had best not speak to him just now, or at all disturb him. I must look i_t Tellson’s; so I will go there at once and come back presently. Then, w_ill take him a ride into the country, and dine there, and all will be well.”
  • It was easier for Mr. Lorry to look in at Tellson’s, than to look out o_ellson’s. He was detained two hours. When he came back, he ascended the ol_taircase alone, having asked no question of the servant; going thus into th_octor’s rooms, he was stopped by a low sound of knocking.
  • “Good God!” he said, with a start. “What’s that?”
  • Miss Pross, with a terrified face, was at his ear. “O me, O me! All is lost!” cried she, wringing her hands. “What is to be told to Ladybird? He doesn’_now me, and is making shoes!”
  • Mr. Lorry said what he could to calm her, and went himself into the Doctor’_oom. The bench was turned towards the light, as it had been when he had see_he shoemaker at his work before, and his head was bent down, and he was ver_usy.
  • “Doctor Manette. My dear friend, Doctor Manette!”
  • The Doctor looked at him for a moment—half inquiringly, half as if he wer_ngry at being spoken to—and bent over his work again.
  • He had laid aside his coat and waistcoat; his shirt was open at the throat, a_t used to be when he did that work; and even the old haggard, faded surfac_f face had come back to him. He worked hard— impatiently—as if in some sens_f having been interrupted.
  • Mr. Lorry glanced at the work in his hand, and observed that it was a shoe o_he old size and shape. He took up another that was lying by him, and aske_hat it was.
  • “A young lady’s walking shoe,” he muttered, without looking up. “It ought t_ave been finished long ago. Let it be.”
  • “But, Doctor Manette. Look at me!”
  • He obeyed, in the old mechanically submissive manner, without pausing in hi_ork.
  • “You know me, my dear friend? Think again. This is not your proper occupation.
  • Think, dear friend!”
  • Nothing would induce him to speak more. He looked up, for an instant at _ime, when he was requested to do so; but, no persuasion would extract a wor_rom him. He worked, and worked, and worked, in silence, and words fell on hi_s they would have fallen on an echoless wall, or on the air. The only ray o_ope that Mr. Lorry could discover, was, that he sometimes furtively looked u_ithout being asked. In that, there seemed a faint expression of curiosity o_erplexity—as though he were trying to reconcile some doubts in his mind.
  • Two things at once impressed themselves on Mr. Lorry, as important above al_thers; the first, that this must be kept secret from Lucie; the second, tha_t must be kept secret from all who knew him. In conjunction with Miss Pross, he took immediate steps towards the latter precaution, by giving out that th_octor was not well, and required a few days of complete rest. In aid of th_ind deception to be practised on his daughter, Miss Pross was to write, describing his having been called away professionally, and referring to a_maginary letter of two or three hurried lines in his own hand, represented t_ave been addressed to her by the same post.
  • These measures, advisable to be taken in any case, Mr. Lorry took in the hop_f his coming to himself. If that should happen soon, he kept another cours_n reserve; which was, to have a certain opinion that he thought the best, o_he Doctor’s case.
  • In the hope of his recovery, and of resort to this third course being thereb_endered practicable, Mr. Lorry resolved to watch him attentively, with a_ittle appearance as possible of doing so. He therefore made arrangements t_bsent himself from Tellson’s for the first time in his life, and took hi_ost by the window in the same room.
  • He was not long in discovering that it was worse than useless to speak to him, since, on being pressed, he became worried. He abandoned that attempt on th_irst day, and resolved merely to keep himself always before him, as a silen_rotest against the delusion into which he had fallen, or was falling. H_emained, therefore, in his seat near the window, reading and writing, an_xpressing in as many pleasant and natural ways as he could think of, that i_as a free place.
  • Doctor Manette took what was given him to eat and drink, and worked on, tha_irst day, until it was too dark to see—worked on, half an hour after Mr.
  • Lorry could not have seen, for his life, to read or write. When he put hi_ools aside as useless, until morning, Mr. Lorry rose and said to him:
  • “Will you go out?”
  • He looked down at the floor on either side of him in the old manner, looked u_n the old manner, and repeated in the old low voice:
  • “Out?”
  • “Yes; for a walk with me. Why not?”
  • He made no effort to say why not, and said not a word more. But, Mr. Lorr_hought he saw, as he leaned forward on his bench in the dusk, with his elbow_n his knees and his head in his hands, that he was in some misty way askin_imself, “Why not?” The sagacity of the man of business perceived an advantag_ere, and determined to hold it.
  • Miss Pross and he divided the night into two watches, and observed him a_ntervals from the adjoining room. He paced up and down for a long time befor_e lay down; but, when he did finally lay himself down, he fell asleep. In th_orning, he was up betimes, and went straight to his bench and to work.
  • On this second day, Mr. Lorry saluted him cheerfully by his name, and spoke t_im on topics that had been of late familiar to them. He returned no reply, but it was evident that he heard what was said, and that he thought about it, however confusedly. This encouraged Mr. Lorry to have Miss Pross in with he_ork, several times during the day; at those times, they quietly spoke o_ucie, and of her father then present, precisely in the usual manner, and a_f there were nothing amiss. This was done without any demonstrativ_ccompaniment, not long enough, or often enough to harass him; and i_ightened Mr. Lorry’s friendly heart to believe that he looked up oftener, an_hat he appeared to be stirred by some perception of inconsistencie_urrounding him.
  • When it fell dark again, Mr. Lorry asked him as before:
  • “Dear Doctor, will you go out?”
  • As before, he repeated, “Out?”
  • “Yes; for a walk with me. Why not?”
  • This time, Mr. Lorry feigned to go out when he could extract no answer fro_im, and, after remaining absent for an hour, returned. In the meanwhile, th_octor had removed to the seat in the window, and had sat there looking dow_t the plane-tree; but, on Mr. Lorry’s return, be slipped away to his bench.
  • The time went very slowly on, and Mr. Lorry’s hope darkened, and his hear_rew heavier again, and grew yet heavier and heavier every day. The third da_ame and went, the fourth, the fifth. Five days, six days, seven days, eigh_ays, nine days.
  • With a hope ever darkening, and with a heart always growing heavier an_eavier, Mr. Lorry passed through this anxious time. The secret was well kept, and Lucie was unconscious and happy; but he could not fail to observe that th_hoemaker, whose hand had been a little out at first, was growing dreadfull_kilful, and that he had never been so intent on his work, and that his hand_ad never been so nimble and expert, as in the dusk of the ninth evening.