"And so," said Mr. Lorry, who could not sufficiently admire thebride, and who had been moving round her to take in every point of herquiet, pretty dress; "and so it was for this, my sweet Lucie, that Ibrought you across the Channel, such a baby! Lord bless me! How littleI thought what I was doing! How lightly I valued the obligation Iwas conferring on my friend Mr. Charles!"
"You didn't mean it," remarked the matter-of-fact Miss Pross, "andtherefore how 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 withher, on occasion.)
"You were, just now; I saw you do it, and I don't wonder at it. Sucha present of plate as you have made 'em, is enough to bring tears intoanybody's eyes. There's not a fork or a spoon in the collection," saidMiss Pross, "that I didn'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 no intention of rendering those trifling articles of remembranceinvisible to any one. Dear me! This is an occasion that makes a manspeculate on all he has lost. Dear, dear, dear! To think that theremight have been a Mrs. Lorry, any time these fifty years almost!"
"Not at all!" From Miss Pross.
"You think there never might have been a Mrs. Lorry?" asked thegentleman of that name.
"Pooh!" rejoined Miss Pross; "you were a bachelor in your cradle."
"Well!" observed Mr. Lorry, beamingly adjusting his little wig,"that seems probable, too."
"And you were cut out for a bachelor," pursued Miss Pross, "beforeyou were put in your cradle."
"Then, I think," said Mr. Lorry, "that I was very unhandsomely dealtwith, and that I ought to have had a voice in the selection of mypattern. Enough! Now, my dear Lucie," drawing his arm soothingly roundher waist, "I hear them moving in the next room, and Miss Pross and I,as two formal folks of business, are anxious not to lose the finalopportunity of saying something to you that you wish to hear. Youleave your good father, my dear, in hands as earnest and as lovingas your own; he shall be taken every conceivable care of; during thenext fortnight, while you are in Warwickshire and thereabouts, evenTellson's shall go to the wall (comparatively speaking) before him.And when, at the fortnight's end, he comes to join you and yourbeloved husband, on your other fortnight's trip in Wales, you shallsay that we have sent him to you in the best health and in thehappiest frame. Now, I hear Somebody's step coming to the door. Let mekiss my dear girl with an old-fashioned bachelor blessing, beforeSomebody comes to claim his own."
For a moment, he held the fair face from him to look at thewell-remembered expression on the forehead, and then laid the brightgolden hair against his little brown wig, with a genuine tendernessand delicacy which, if such things be old-fashioned, were as old asAdam.
The door of the Doctor's room opened, and he came out with CharlesDarnay. He was so deadly pale- which had not been the case when theywent in together- that no vestige of colour was to be seen in hisface. But, in the composure of his manner he was unaltered, exceptthat to the shrewd glance of Mr. Lorry it disclosed some shadowyindication that the old air of avoidance and dread had lately passedover him, like a cold wind.
He gave his arm to his daughter, and took her down-stairs to thechariot which Mr. Lorry had hired in honour of the day. The restfollowed in another carriage, and soon, in a neighbouring church,where no strange eyes looked on, Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette werehappily married.
Besides the glancing tears that shone among the smiles of the littlegroup when it was done, some diamonds, very bright and sparkling,glanced on the bride's hand, which were newly released from the darkobscurity of one of Mr. Lorry's pockets. They returned home tobreakfast, and all went well, and in due course the golden hair thathad mingled with the poor shoemaker's white locks in the Paris garret,were mingled with them again in the morning sunlight, on the thresholdof the door at parting.
It was a hard parting, though it was not for long. But her fathercheered her, and said at last, gently disengaging himself from herenfolding arms, "Take her, Charles! She is yours!"
And her agitated hand waved to them from a chaise window, and shewas gone.
The corner being out of the way of the idle and curious, and thepreparations having been very simple and few, the Doctor, Mr. Lorry,and Miss Pross, were left quite alone. It was when they turned intothe welcome shade of the cool old hall, that Mr. Lorry observed agreat change to have come over the Doctor; as if the golden armuplifted there, had struck him a poisoned blow.
He had naturally repressed much, and some revulsion might havebeen expected in him when the occasion for repression was gone. But,it was the old scared lost look that troubled Mr. Lorry; and throughhis absent manner of clasping his head and drearily wandering awayinto his own room when they got up-stairs, Mr. Lorry was reminded ofDefarge the wine-shop keeper, and the starlight ride.
"I think," he whispered to Miss Pross, after anxiousconsideration, "I think we had best not speak to him just now, or atall disturb him. I must look in at Tellson's; so I will go there atonce and come back presently. Then, we will take him a ride into thecountry, and dine there, and all will be well."
It was easier for Mr. Lorry to look in at Tellson's, than to lookout of Tellson's. He was detained two hours. When he came back, heascended the old staircase alone, having asked no question of theservant; going thus into the Doctor's rooms, he was stopped by a lowsound 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 toLadybird? He doesn't know me, and is making shoes!"
Mr. Lorry said what he could to calm her, and went himself intothe Doctor's room. The bench was turned towards the light, as it hadbeen when he had seen the shoemaker at his work before, and his headwas bent down, and he was very busy.
"Doctor Manette. My dear friend, Doctor Manette!"
The Doctor looked at him for a moment- half inquiringly, half asif he were angry at being spoken to- and bent over his work again.
He had laid aside his coat and waistcoat; his shirt was open atthe throat, as it used to be when he did that work; and even the oldhaggard, faded surface of face had come back to him. He worked hard-impatiently- as if in some sense of having been interrupted.
Mr. Lorry glanced at the work in his hand, and observed that itwas a shoe of the old size and shape. He took up another that waslying by him, and asked what it was.
"A young lady's walking shoe," he muttered, without looking up."It ought to have been finished long ago. Let it be."
"But, Doctor Manette. Look at me!"
He obeyed, in the old mechanically submissive manner, withoutpausing in his work.
"You know me, my dear friend? Think again. This is not your properoccupation. Think, dear friend!"
Nothing would induce him to speak more. He looked up, for an instantat a time, when he was requested to do so; but, no persuasion wouldextract a word from him. He worked, and worked, and worked, insilence, and words fell on him as they would have fallen on anecholess wall, or on the air. The only ray of hope that Mr. Lorrycould discover, was, that he sometimes furtively looked up withoutbeing asked. In that, there seemed a faint expression of curiosityor perplexity- as though he were trying to reconcile some doubts inhis mind.
Two things at once impressed themselves on Mr. Lorry, as importantabove all others; the first, that this must be kept secret from Lucie;the second, that it must be kept secret from all who knew him. Inconjunction with Miss Pross, he took immediate steps towards thelatter precaution, by giving out that the Doctor was not well, andrequired a few days of complete rest. In aid of the kind deceptionto be practised on his daughter, Miss Pross was to write, describinghis having been called away professionally, and referring to animaginary letter of two or three hurried lines in his own hand,represented to have been addressed to her by the same post.
These measures, advisable to be taken in any case, Mr. Lorry took inthe hope of his coming to himself. If that should happen soon, he keptanother course in reserve; which was, to have a certain opinion thathe thought the best, on the Doctor's case.
In the hope of his recovery, and of resort to this third coursebeing thereby rendered practicable, Mr. Lorry resolved to watch himattentively, with as little appearance as possible of doing so. Hetherefore made arrangements to absent himself from Tellson's for thefirst time in his life, and took his post by the window in the sameroom.
He was not long in discovering that it was worse than useless tospeak to him, since, on being pressed, he became worried. He abandonedthat attempt on the first day, and resolved merely to keep himselfalways before him, as a silent protest against the delusion into whichhe had fallen, or was falling. He remained, therefore, in his seatnear the window, reading and writing, and expressing in as manypleasant and natural ways as he could think of, that it was a freeplace.
Doctor Manette took what was given him to eat and drink, andworked on, that first day, until it was too dark to see- worked on,half an hour after Mr. Lorry could not have seen, for his life, toread or write. When he put his tools aside as useless, untilmorning, 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 up in the old manner, and repeated in the old low voice:
"Yes; for a walk with me. Why not?"
He made no effort to say why not, and said not a word more. But, Mr.Lorry thought he saw, as he leaned forward on his bench in the dusk,with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands, that he was insome misty way asking himself, "Why not?" The sagacity of the man ofbusiness perceived an advantage here, and determined to hold it.
Miss Pross and he divided the night into two watches, and observedhim at intervals from the adjoining room. He paced up and down for along time before he lay down; but, when he did finally lay himselfdown, he fell asleep. In the morning, he was up betimes, and wentstraight to his bench and to work.
On this second day, Mr. Lorry saluted him cheerfully by his name,and spoke to him on topics that had been of late familiar to them.He returned no reply, but it was evident that he heard what wassaid, and that he thought about it, however confusedly. Thisencouraged Mr. Lorry to have Miss Pross in with her work, severaltimes during the day; at those times, they quietly spoke of Lucie, andof her father then present, precisely in the usual manner, and as ifthere were nothing amiss. This was done without any demonstrativeaccompaniment, not long enough, or often enough to harass him; andit lightened Mr. Lorry's friendly heart to believe that he looked upoftener, and that he appeared to be stirred by some perception ofinconsistencies surrounding 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 noanswer from him, and, after remaining absent for an hour, returned. Inthe meanwhile, the Doctor had removed to the seat in the window, andhad sat there looking down at the plane-tree; but, on Mr. Lorry'sreturn, he slipped away to his bench.
The time went very slowly on, and Mr. Lorry's hope darkened, and hisheart grew heavier again, and grew yet heavier and heavier everyday. The third day came and went, the fourth, the fifth. Five days,six days, seven days, eight days, nine days.
With a hope ever darkening, and with a heart always growingheavier and heavier, Mr. Lorry passed through this anxious time. Thesecret was well kept, and Lucie was unconscious and happy; but hecould not fail to observe that the shoemaker, whose hand had been alittle out at first, was growing dreadfully skilful, and that he hadnever been so intent on his work, and that his hands had never been sonimble and expert, as in the dusk of the ninth evening.