Book the Second - the Golden Thread
24. XXIV. Drawn to the Loadstone Rock
As was natural, the head-quarters and great gathering-place of
Monseigneur, in London, was Tellson's Bank. Spirits are supposed to
haunt the places where their bodies most resorted, and Monseigneur
without a guinea haunted the spot where his guineas used to be.
Moreover, it was the spot to which such French intelligence as was
most to be relied upon, came quickest. Again: Tellson's was a
munificent house, and extended great liberality to old customers who
had fallen from their high estate. Again: those nobles who had seen
the coming storm in time, and anticipating plunder or confiscation,
had made provident remittances to Tellson's, were always to be heard
of there by their needy brethren. To which it must be added that every
new-comer from France reported himself and his tidings at Tellson's,
almost as a matter of course. For such variety of reasons, Tellson's
was at that time, as to French intelligence, a kind of High Exchange;
and this was so well known to the public, and the inquiries made there
were in consequence so numerous, that Tellson's sometimes wrote the
latest news out in a line or so and posted it in the Bank windows,
for all who ran through Temple Bar to read.
On a steaming, misty afternoon, Mr. Lorry sat at his desk, and Charles
Darnay stood leaning on it, talking with him in a low voice. The
penitential den once set apart for interviews with the House, was now
the news-Exchange, and was filled to overflowing. It was within half
an hour or so of the time of closing.
"But, although you are the youngest man that ever lived," said Charles
Darnay, rather hesitating, "I must still suggest to you--"
"I understand. That I am too old?" said Mr. Lorry.
"Unsettled weather, a long journey, uncertain means of travelling, a
disorganised country, a city that may not be even safe for you."