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Chapter 3 The Shadow

  • One of the first considerations which arose in the business mind of Mr. Lorr_hen business hours came round, was this:—that he had no right to imperi_ellson's by sheltering the wife of an emigrant prisoner under the Bank roof, His own possessions, safety, life, he would have hazarded for Lucie and he_hild, without a moment's demur; but the great trust he held was not his own, and as to that business charge he was a strict man of business.
  • At first, his mind reverted to Defarge, and he thought of finding out th_ine-shop again and taking counsel with its master in reference to the safes_welling-place in the distracted state of the city. But, the sam_onsideration that suggested him, repudiated him; he lived in the most violen_uarter, and doubtless was influential there, and deep in its dangerou_orkings.
  • Noon coming, and the Doctor not returning, and every minute's delay tending t_ompromise Tellson's, Mr. Lorry advised with Lucie. She said that her fathe_ad spoken of hiring a lodging for a short term, in that Quarter, near th_anking-house. As there was no business objection to this, and as he foresa_hat even if it were all well with Charles, and he were to be released, h_ould not hope to leave the city, Mr. Lorry went out in quest of such _odging, and found a suitable one, high up in a removed by-street where th_losed blinds in all the other windows of a high melancholy square o_uildings marked deserted homes.
  • To this lodging he at once removed Lucie and her child, and Miss Pross: givin_hem what comfort he could, and much more than he had himself. He left Jerr_ith them, as a figure to fill a doorway that would bear considerable knockin_n the head, and retained to his own occupations. A disturbed and doleful min_e brought to bear upon them, and slowly and heavily the day lagged on wit_im.
  • It wore itself out, and wore him out with it, until the Bank closed. He wa_gain alone in his room of the previous night, considering what to do next, when he heard a foot upon the stair. In a few moments, a man stood in hi_resence, who, with a keenly observant look at him, addressed him by his name.
  • "Your servant," said Mr. Lorry. "Do you know me?"
  • He was a strongly made man with dark curling hair, from forty-five to fift_ears of age. For answer he repeated, without any change of emphasis, th_ords:
  • "Do you know me?"
  • "I have seen you somewhere."
  • "Perhaps at my wine-shop?"
  • Much interested and agitated, Mr. Lorry said: "You come from Doctor Manette?"
  • "Yes. I come from Doctor Manette."
  • "And what says he? What does he send me?"
  • Defarge gave into his anxious hand, an open scrap of paper. It bore the word_n the Doctor's writing:
  • "Charles is safe, but I cannot safely leave this place yet. I have obtaine_he favour that the bearer has a short note from Charles to his wife. Let th_earer see his wife."
  • It was dated from La Force, within an hour.
  • "Will you accompany me," said Mr. Lorry, joyfully relieved after reading thi_ote aloud, "to where his wife resides?"
  • "Yes," returned Defarge.
  • Scarcely noticing as yet, in what a curiously reserved and mechanical wa_efarge spoke, Mr. Lorry put on his hat and they went down into the courtyard.
  • There, they found two women; one, knitting.
  • "Madame Defarge, surely!" said Mr. Lorry, who had left her in exactly the sam_ttitude some seventeen years ago.
  • "It is she," observed her husband.
  • "Does Madame go with us?" inquired Mr. Lorry, seeing that she moved as the_oved.
  • "Yes. That she may be able to recognise the faces and know the persons. It i_or their safety."
  • Beginning to be struck by Defarge's manner, Mr. Lorry looked dubiously at him, and led the way. Both the women followed; the second woman being Th_engeance.
  • They passed through the intervening streets as quickly as they might, ascende_he staircase of the new domicile, were admitted by Jerry, and found Luci_eeping, alone. She was thrown into a transport by the tidings Mr. Lorry gav_er of her husband, and clasped the hand that delivered his note—littl_hinking what it had been doing near him in the night, and might, but for _hance, have done to him.
  • "Dearest,—Take courage. I am well, and your father has influence around me.
  • You cannot answer this. Kiss our child for me."
  • That was all the writing. It was so much, however, to her who received it, that she turned from Defarge to his wife, and kissed one of the hands tha_nitted. It was a passionate, loving, thankful, womanly action, but the han_ade no response—dropped cold and heavy, and took to its knitting again.
  • There was something in its touch that gave Lucie a check. She stopped in th_ct of putting the note in her bosom, and, with her hands yet at her neck, looked terrified at Madame Defarge. Madame Defarge met the lifted eyebrows an_orehead with a cold, impassive stare.
  • "My dear," said Mr. Lorry, striking in to explain; "there are frequent rising_n the streets; and, although it is not likely they will ever trouble you, Madame Defarge wishes to see those whom she has the power to protect at suc_imes, to the end that she may know them—that she may identify them. _elieve," said Mr. Lorry, rather halting in his reassuring words, as the ston_anner of all the three impressed itself upon him more and more, "I state th_ase, Citizen Defarge?"
  • Defarge looked gloomily at his wife, and gave no other answer than a gruf_ound of acquiescence.
  • "You had better, Lucie," said Mr. Lorry, doing all he could to propitiate, b_one and manner, "have the dear child here, and our good Pross. Our goo_ross, Defarge, is an English lady, and knows no French."
  • The lady in question, whose rooted conviction that she was more than a matc_or any foreigner, was not to be shaken by distress and, danger, appeared wit_olded arms, and observed in English to The Vengeance, whom her eyes firs_ncountered, "Well, I am sure, Boldface! I hope you are pretty well!" She als_estowed a British cough on Madame Defarge; but, neither of the two took muc_eed of her.
  • "Is that his child?" said Madame Defarge, stopping in her work for the firs_ime, and pointing her knitting-needle at little Lucie as if it were th_inger of Fate.
  • "Yes, madame," answered Mr. Lorry; "this is our poor prisoner's darlin_aughter, and only child."
  • The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party seemed to fall s_hreatening and dark on the child, that her mother instinctively kneeled o_he ground beside her, and held her to her breast. The shadow attendant o_adame Defarge and her party seemed then to fall, threatening and dark, o_oth the mother and the child.
  • "It is enough, my husband," said Madame Defarge. "I have seen them. We ma_o."
  • But, the suppressed manner had enough of menace in it—not visible an_resented, but indistinct and withheld—to alarm Lucie into saying, as she lai_er appealing hand on Madame Defarge's dress:
  • "You will be good to my poor husband. You will do him no harm. You will hel_e to see him if you can?"
  • "Your husband is not my business here," returned Madame Defarge, looking dow_t her with perfect composure. "It is the daughter of your father who is m_usiness here."
  • "For my sake, then, be merciful to my husband. For my child's sake! She wil_ut her hands together and pray you to be merciful. We are more afraid of yo_han of these others."
  • Madame Defarge received it as a compliment, and looked at her husband.
  • Defarge, who had been uneasily biting his thumb-nail and looking at her, collected his face into a sterner expression.
  • "What is it that your husband says in that little letter?" asked Madam_efarge, with a lowering smile. "Influence; he says something touchin_nfluence?"
  • "That my father," said Lucie, hurriedly taking the paper from her breast, bu_ith her alarmed eyes on her questioner and not on it, "has much influenc_round him."
  • "Surely it will release him!" said Madame Defarge. "Let it do so."
  • "As a wife and mother," cried Lucie, most earnestly, "I implore you to hav_ity on me and not to exercise any power that you possess, against my innocen_usband, but to use it in his behalf. O sister-woman, think of me. As a wif_nd mother!"
  • Madame Defarge looked, coldly as ever, at the suppliant, and said, turning t_er friend The Vengeance:
  • "The wives and mothers we have been used to see, since we were as little a_his child, and much less, have not been greatly considered? We have know_heir husbands and fathers laid in prison and kept from them, often enough?
  • All our lives, we have seen our sister-women suffer, in themselves and i_heir children, poverty, nakedness, hunger, thirst, sickness, misery, oppression and neglect of all kinds?"
  • "We have seen nothing else," returned The Vengeance.
  • "We have borne this a long time," said Madame Defarge, turning her eyes agai_pon Lucie. "Judge you! Is it likely that the trouble of one wife and mothe_ould be much to us now?"
  • She resumed her knitting and went out. The Vengeance followed. Defarge wen_ast, and closed the door.
  • "Courage, my dear Lucie," said Mr. Lorry, as he raised her. "Courage, courage!
  • So far all goes well with us—much, much better than it has of late gone wit_any poor souls. Cheer up, and have a thankful heart."
  • "I am not thankless, I hope, but that dreadful woman seems to throw a shado_n me and on all my hopes."
  • "Tut, tut!" said Mr. Lorry; "what is this despondency in the brave littl_reast? A shadow indeed! No substance in it, Lucie."
  • But the shadow of the manner of these Defarges was dark upon himself, for al_hat, and in his secret mind it troubled him greatly.