Book the First - Recalled to Life
4. IV. The Preparation
The coffee-room had no other occupant, that forenoon, than the
gentleman in brown. His breakfast-table was drawn before the fire,
and as he sat, with its light shining on him, waiting for the meal,
he sat so still, that he might have been sitting for his portrait.
Very orderly and methodical he looked, with a hand on each knee, and
a loud watch ticking a sonorous sermon under his flapped waist-coat,
as though it pitted its gravity and longevity against the levity and
evanescence of the brisk fire. He had a good leg, and was a little
vain of it, for his brown stockings fitted sleek and close, and were
of a fine texture; his shoes and buckles, too, though plain, were
trim. He wore an odd little sleek crisp flaxen wig, setting very
close to his head: which wig, it is to be presumed, was made of hair,
but which looked far more as though it were spun from filaments of
silk or glass. His linen, though not of a fineness in accordance
with his stockings, was as white as the tops of the waves that broke
upon the neighbouring beach, or the specks of sail that glinted in
the sunlight far at sea. A face habitually suppressed and quieted,
was still lighted up under the quaint wig by a pair of moist bright
eyes that it must have cost their owner, in years gone by, some pains
to drill to the composed and reserved expression of Tellson's Bank.
He had a healthy colour in his cheeks, and his face, though lined,
bore few traces of anxiety. But, perhaps the confidential bachelor
clerks in Tellson's Bank were principally occupied with the cares of
other people; and perhaps second-hand cares, like second-hand
clothes, come easily off and on.
Completing his resemblance to a man who was sitting for his portrait,
Mr. Lorry dropped off to sleep. The arrival of his breakfast roused
him, and he said to the drawer, as he moved his chair to it:
"I wish accommodation prepared for a young lady who may come here at
any time to-day. She may ask for Mr. Jarvis Lorry, or she may only
ask for a gentleman from Tellson's Bank. Please to let me know."
"Yes, sir. Tellson's Bank in London, sir?"