Book the Second - the Golden Thread
6. VI. Hundreds of People
The quiet lodgings of Doctor Manette were in a quiet street-corner
not far from Soho-square. On the afternoon of a certain fine Sunday
when the waves of four months had roiled over the trial for treason,
and carried it, as to the public interest and memory, far out to sea,
Mr. Jarvis Lorry walked along the sunny streets from Clerkenwell
where he lived, on his way to dine with the Doctor. After several
relapses into business-absorption, Mr. Lorry had become the Doctor's
friend, and the quiet street-corner was the sunny part of his life.
On this certain fine Sunday, Mr. Lorry walked towards Soho, early in
the afternoon, for three reasons of habit. Firstly, because, on fine
Sundays, he often walked out, before dinner, with the Doctor and Lucie;
secondly, because, on unfavourable Sundays, he was accustomed to be
with them as the family friend, talking, reading, looking out of window,
and generally getting through the day; thirdly, because he happened
to have his own little shrewd doubts to solve, and knew how the ways
of the Doctor's household pointed to that time as a likely time for
A quainter corner than the corner where the Doctor lived, was not to
be found in London. There was no way through it, and the front windows
of the Doctor's lodgings commanded a pleasant little vista of street
that had a congenial air of retirement on it. There were few buildings
then, north of the Oxford-road, and forest-trees flourished, and wild
flowers grew, and the hawthorn blossomed, in the now vanished fields.
As a consequence, country airs circulated in Soho with vigorous freedom,
instead of languishing into the parish like stray paupers without a
settlement; and there was many a good south wall, not far off, on which
the peaches ripened in their season.
The summer light struck into the corner brilliantly in the earlier
part of the day; but, when the streets grew hot, the corner was in
shadow, though not in shadow so remote but that you could see beyond
it into a glare of brightness. It was a cool spot, staid but cheerful,
a wonderful place for echoes, and a very harbour from the raging streets.