Book the Second - the Golden Thread
4. IV. Congratulatory
From the dimly-lighted passages of the court, the last sediment of the
human stew that had been boiling there all day, was straining off,
when Doctor Manette, Lucie Manette, his daughter, Mr. Lorry, the
solicitor for the defence, and its counsel, Mr. Stryver, stood
gathered round Mr. Charles Darnay--just released--congratulating him
on his escape from death.
It would have been difficult by a far brighter light, to recognise in
Doctor Manette, intellectual of face and upright of bearing, the
shoemaker of the garret in Paris. Yet, no one could have looked at
him twice, without looking again: even though the opportunity of
observation had not extended to the mournful cadence of his low grave
voice, and to the abstraction that overclouded him fitfully, without
any apparent reason. While one external cause, and that a reference
to his long lingering agony, would always--as on the trial--evoke this
condition from the depths of his soul, it was also in its nature to
arise of itself, and to draw a gloom over him, as incomprehensible to
those unacquainted with his story as if they had seen the shadow of
the actual Bastille thrown upon him by a summer sun, when the
substance was three hundred miles away.
Only his daughter had the power of charming this black brooding from
his mind. She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond
his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her
voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong
beneficial influence with him almost always. Not absolutely always,
for she could recall some occasions on which her power had failed;
but they were few and slight, and she believed them over.
Mr. Darnay had kissed her hand fervently and gratefully, and had
turned to Mr. Stryver, whom he warmly thanked. Mr. Stryver, a man of
little more than thirty, but looking twenty years older than he was,
stout, loud, red, bluff, and free from any drawback of delicacy,
had a pushing way of shouldering himself (morally and physically)
into companies and conversations, that argued well for his shouldering
his way up in life.
He still had his wig and gown on, and he said, squaring himself at his
late client to that degree that he squeezed the innocent Mr. Lorry
clean out of the group: "I am glad to have brought you off with honour,
Mr. Darnay. It was an infamous prosecution, grossly infamous;
but not the less likely to succeed on that account."