Book the Second - the Golden Thread
6. VI. Hundreds of People
There ought to have been a tranquil bark in such an anchorage, and
there was. The Doctor occupied two floors of a large stiff house,
where several callings purported to be pursued by day, but whereof
little was audible any day, and which was shunned by all of them at
night. In a building at the back, attainable by a courtyard where a
plane-tree rustled its green leaves, church-organs claimed to be
made, and silver to be chased, and likewise gold to be beaten by some
mysterious giant who had a golden arm starting out of the wall of the
front hall--as if he had beaten himself precious, and menaced a similar
conversion of all visitors. Very little of these trades, or of a
lonely lodger rumoured to live up-stairs, or of a dim coach-trimming
maker asserted to have a counting-house below, was ever heard or seen.
Occasionally, a stray workman putting his coat on, traversed the
hall, or a stranger peered about there, or a distant clink was heard
across the courtyard, or a thump from the golden giant. These,
however, were only the exceptions required to prove the rule that the
sparrows in the plane-tree behind the house, and the echoes in the
corner before it, had their own way from Sunday morning unto Saturday
Doctor Manette received such patients here as his old reputation,
and its revival in the floating whispers of his story, brought him.
His scientific knowledge, and his vigilance and skill in conducting
ingenious experiments, brought him otherwise into moderate request,
and he earned as much as he wanted.
These things were within Mr. Jarvis Lorry's knowledge, thoughts, and
notice, when he rang the door-bell of the tranquil house in the corner,
on the fine Sunday afternoon.
"Doctor Manette at home?"
"Miss Lucie at home?"
"Miss Pross at home?"
Possibly at home, but of a certainty impossible for handmaid to anticipate
intentions of Miss Pross, as to admission or denial of the fact.