The lights were nearly all extinguished in the passages, the iron gates were being closed with a jar and a rattle, and the dismal place was deserted until to-morrow morning's interest of gallows, pillory, whipping-post, and branding-iron, should repeople it. Walking between her father and Mr. Darnay, Lucie Manette passed into the open air. A hackney-coach was called, and the father and daughter departed in it.
Mr. Stryver had left them in the passages, to shoulder his way back to the robing-room. Another person, who had not joined the group, or interchanged a word with any one of them, but who had been leaning against the wall where its shadow was darkest, had silently strolled out after the rest, and had looked on until the coach drove away. He now stepped up to where Mr. Lorry and Mr. Darnay stood upon the 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's proceedings; nobody had known of it. He was unrobed, and was none the better for it in appearance.
"If you knew what a conflict goes on in the business mind, when the business mind is divided between good-natured impulse and business appearances, you would be amused, Mr. Darnay."
Mr. Lorry reddened, and said, warmly, "You have mentioned that before, sir. We men of business, who serve a House, are not our own masters. We have to think of the House more than ourselves."
"_I_ know, _I_ know," rejoined Mr. Carton, carelessly. "Don't be nettled, 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 really don'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 is your 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 and impediments, Mr. Darnay as a young gentleman of generosity knows how to make allowance for that circumstance. Mr. Darnay, good night, God bless you, sir! I hope you have been this day preserved for a prosperous and happy life.--Chair there!"
Perhaps a little angry with himself, as well as with 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 quite sober, laughed then, and turned to Darnay:
"This is a strange chance that throws you and me together. This must be a strange night to you, standing alone here with your counterpart on these street stones?"
"I hardly seem yet," returned Charles Darnay, "to belong to this world again."
"I don't wonder at it; it's not so long since you were pretty far advanced 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 those numskulls were deliberating which world you should belong to--this, or some other. Let me show you the nearest tavern to dine well at."
Drawing his arm through his own, he took him down Ludgate-hill to Fleet-street, and so, up a covered way, into a tavern. Here, they were shown into a little room, where Charles Darnay was soon recruiting his strength with a good plain dinner and good wine: while Carton sat opposite to him at the same table, with his separate bottle of port before 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 far mended as to feel that."
"It must be an immense satisfaction!"
He said it bitterly, and filled up his glass again: which was a large one.