It would have been difficult by a far brighter light, to recognisein Doctor Manette, intellectual of face and upright of bearing, theshoemaker of the garret in Paris. Yet, no one could have looked at himtwice, without looking again: even though the opportunity ofobservation had not extended to the mournful cadence of his lowgrave voice, and to the abstraction that overclouded him fitfully,without any apparent reason. While one external cause, and that areference to his long lingering agony, would always- as on thetrial- evoke this condition from the depths of his soul, it was alsoin its nature to arise of itself, and to draw a gloom over him, asincomprehensible to those unacquainted with his story as if they hadseen the shadow of the actual Bastille thrown upon him by a summersun, when the substance was three hundred miles away.
Only his daughter had the power of charming this black brooding fromhis mind. She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyondhis misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of hervoice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strongbeneficial influence with him almost always. Not absolutely always,for she could recall some occasions on which her power had failed; butthey were few and slight, and she believed them over.
Mr. Darnay had kissed her hand fervently and gratefully, and hadturned to Mr. Stryver, whom he warmly thanked. Mr. Stryver, a man oflittle more than thirty, but looking twenty years older than he was,stout, loud, red, bluff, and free from any drawback of delicacy, had apushing way of shouldering himself (morally and physically) intocompanies and conversations, that argued well for his shoulderinghis way up in life.
He still had his wig and gown on, and he said, squaring himself athis late client to that degree that he squeezed the innocent Mr. Lorryclean out of the group: "I am glad to have brought you off withhonour, Mr. Darnay. It was an infamous prosecution, grosslyinfamous; but not the less likely to succeed on that account."
"You have laid me under an obligation to you for life- in twosenses," said his late client, taking his hand.
"I have done my best for you, Mr. Darnay; and my best is as goodas another man's, I believe."
It clearly being incumbent on some one to say, "Much better," Mr.Lorry said it; perhaps not quite disinterestedly, but with theinterested object of squeezing himself back again.
"You think so?" said Mr. Stryver. "Well! you have been present allday, and you ought to know. You are a man of business, too."
"And as such," quoth Mr. Lorry, whom the counsel learned in thelaw had now shouldered back into the group, just as he hadpreviously shouldered him out of it- "as such I will appeal toDoctor Manette, to break up this conference and order us all to ourhomes. Miss Lucie looks ill, Mr. Darnay has had a terrible day, we areworn out."
"Speak for yourself, Mr. Lorry," said Stryver; "I have a night'swork to do yet. Speak for yourself."
"I speak for myself," answered Mr. Lorry, "and for Mr. Darnay, andfor Miss Lucie, and- Miss Lucie, do you not think I may speak for usall?" He asked her the question pointedly, and with a glance at herfather.
His face had become frozen, as it were, in a very curious look atDarnay; an intent look, deepening into a frown of dislike anddistrust, not even unmixed with fear. With this strange expressionon him his thoughts had wandered away.
"My father," said Lucie, softly laying her hand on his.
He slowly shook the shadow off, and turned to her.
"Shall we go home, my father?"
With a long breath, he answered "Yes."
The friends of the acquitted prisoner had dispersed, under theimpression- which he himself had originated- that he would not bereleased that night. The lights were nearly all extinguished in thepassages, the iron gates were being closed with a jar and a rattle,and the dismal place was deserted until to-morrow morning's interestof gallows, pillory, whipping-post, and branding-iron, should repeopleit. Walking between her father and Mr. Darnay, Lucie Manette passedinto the open air. A hackney-coach was called, and the father anddaughter departed in it.
Mr. Stryver had left them in the passages, to shoulder his wayback to the robing-room. Another person, who had not joined the group,or interchanged a word with any one of them, but who had beenleaning against the wall where its shadow was darkest, had silentlystrolled out after the rest, and had looked on until the coach droveaway. He now stepped up to where Mr. Lorry and Mr. Darnay stood uponthe pavement.
"So, Mr. Lorry! Men of business may speak to Mr. Darnay now?"
Nobody had made any acknowledgment of Mr. Carton's part in the day'sproceedings; nobody had known of it. He was unrobed, and was nonethe better for it in appearance.
"If you knew what a conflict goes on in the business mind, whenthe business mind is divided between good-natured impulse and businessappearances, you would be amused, Mr. Darnay."
Mr. Lorry reddened, and said, warmly, "You have mentioned thatbefore, sir. We men of business, who serve a House, are not our ownmasters. We have to think of the House more than ourselves."
"I know, I know," rejoined Mr. Carton, carelessly. "Don't benettled, Mr. Lorry. You are as good as another, I have no doubt:better, I dare say."
"And indeed, sir," pursued Mr. Lorry, not minding him, "I reallydon't know what you have to do with the matter. If you'll excuse me,as very much your elder, for saying so, I really don't know that it isyour business."
"Business! Bless you, I have no business," said Mr. Carton.
"It is a pity you have not, sir."
"I think so, too."
"If you had," pursued Mr. Lorry, "perhaps you would attend to it."
"Lord love you, no!- I shouldn't," said Mr. Carton.
"Well, sir!" cried Mr. Lorry, thoroughly heated by his indifference,"business is a very good thing, and a very respectable thing. And,sir, if business imposes its restraints and its silences andimpediments, Mr. Darnay as a young gentleman of generosity knows howto make allowance for that circumstance. Mr. Darnay, good night, Godbless you, sir! I hope you have been this day preserved for aprosperous and happy life.- Chair there!"
Perhaps a little angry with himself, as well the barrister, Mr.Lorry bustled into the chair, and was carried off to Tellson's.Carton, who smelt of port wine, and did not appear to be quitesober, laughed then, and turned to Darnay:
"This is a strange chance that throws you and me together. This mustbe a strange night to you, standing alone here with your counterparton these street stones?"
"I hardly seem yet," returned Charles Darnay, "to belong to thisworld again."
"I don't wonder at it; it's not so long since you were pretty faradvanced on your way to another. You speak faintly."
"I begin to think I am faint."
"Then why the devil don't you dine? I dined, myself, while thosenumskulls were deliberating which world you should belong to- this, orsome other. Let me show you the nearest tavern to dine well at."
Drawing his arm through his own, he took him down Ludgate-hill toFleet-street, and so, up a covered way, into a tavern. Here, they wereshown into a little room, where Charles Darnay was soon recruiting hisstrength with a good plain dinner and good wine: while Carton satopposite to him at the same table, with his separate bottle of portbefore him, and his fully half-insolent manner upon him.
"Do you feel, yet, that you belong to this terrestrial scheme again,Mr. Darnay?"
"I am frightfully confused regarding time and place; but I am so farmended as to feel that."
"It must be an immense satisfaction!"
He said it bitterly, and filled up his glass again: which was alarge one.
"As to me, the greatest desire I have, is to forget that I belong toit. It bas no good in it for me- except wine like this- nor I forit. So we are not much alike in that particular. Indeed, I begin tothink we are not much alike in any particular, you and I."
Confused by the emotion of the day, and feeling his being there withthis Double of coarse deportment, to be like a dream, Charles Darnaywas at a loss how to answer; finally, answered not at all.
"Now your dinner is done," Carton presently said, "why don't youcall a health, Mr. Darnay; why don't you give your toast?"
"What health? What toast?"
"Why, it's on the tip of your tongue. It ought to be, it must be,I'll swear it's there."
"Miss Manette, then!"
"Miss Manette, then!"
Looking his companion full in the face while he drank the toast,Carton flung his glass over his shoulder against the wall, where itshivered to pieces; then, rang the bell, and ordered in another.
"That's a fair young lady to hand to a coach in the dark, Mr.Darnay!" he said, filling his new goblet.
A slight frown and a laconic "Yes," were the answer.
"That's a fair young lady to be pitied by and wept for by! Howdoes it feel? Is it worth being tried for one's life, to be the objectof such sympathy and compassion, Mr. Darnay?"
Again Darnay answered not a word.
"She was mightily pleased to have your message, when I gave ither. Not that she showed she was pleased, but I suppose she was."
The allusion served as a timely reminder to Darnay that thisdisagreeable companion had, of his own free will, assisted him inthe strait of the day. He turned the dialogue to that point, andthanked him for it.
"I neither want any thanks, nor merit any," was the carelessrejoinder. "It was nothing to do, in the first place; and I don't knowwhy I did it, in the second. Mr. Darnay, let me ask you a question."
"Willingly, and a small return for your good offices."
"Do you think I particularly like you?"
"Really, Mr. Carton," returned the other, oddly disconcerted, "Ihave not asked myself the question."
"But ask yourself the question now."
"You have acted as if you do; but I don't think you do."
"I don't think I do," said Carton. "I begin to have a very goodopinion of your understanding."
"Nevertheless," pursued Darnay, rising to ring the bell, "there isnothing in that, I hope, to prevent my calling the reckoning, andour parting without ill-blood on either side."
Carton rejoining, "Nothing in life!" Darnay rang. "Do you call thewhole reckoning?" said Carton. On his answering in the affirmative,"Then bring me another pint of this same wine, drawer, and come andwake me at ten."
The bill being paid, Charles Darnay rose and wished him goodnight. Without returning the wish, Carton rose too, with somethingof a threat of defiance in his manner, and said, "A last word, Mr.Darnay: you think I am drunk?"
"I think you have been drinking, Mr. Carton."
"Think? You know I have been drinking."
"Since I must say so, I know it."
"Then you shall likewise know why. I am a disappointed drudge,sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me."
"Much to be regretted. You might have used your talents better."
"May be so, Mr. Darnay; may be not. Don't let your sober faceelate you, however; you don't know what it may come to. Good night!"
When he was left alone, this strange being took up a candle, went toa glass that hung against the wall, and surveyed himself minutely init.
"Do you particularly like the man?" he muttered, at his own image;"why should you particularly like a man who resembles you? There isnothing in you to like; you know that. Ah, confound you! What a changeyou have made in yourself! A good reason for taking to a man, thathe shows you what you have fallen away from, and what you might havebeen! Change places with him, and would you have been looked at bythose blue eyes as he was, and commiserated by that agitated face ashe was? Come on, and have it out in plain words! You hate the fellow."
He resorted to his pint of wine for consolation, drank it all in afew minutes, and fell asleep on his arms, with his hair stragglingover the table, and a long winding-sheet in the candle dripping downupon him.