Book the First - Recalled to Life
4. IV. The Preparation
As the day declined into the afternoon, and the air, which had been
at intervals clear enough to allow the French coast to be seen,
became again charged with mist and vapour, Mr. Lorry's thoughts
seemed to cloud too. When it was dark, and he sat before the
coffee-room fire, awaiting his dinner as he had awaited his breakfast,
his mind was busily digging, digging, digging, in the live red coals.
A bottle of good claret after dinner does a digger in the red coals
no harm, otherwise than as it has a tendency to throw him out of
work. Mr. Lorry had been idle a long time, and had just poured out
his last glassful of wine with as complete an appearance of
satisfaction as is ever to be found in an elderly gentleman of a
fresh complexion who has got to the end of a bottle, when a rattling
of wheels came up the narrow street, and rumbled into the inn-yard.
He set down his glass untouched. "This is Mam'selle!" said he.
In a very few minutes the waiter came in to announce that Miss
Manette had arrived from London, and would be happy to see the
gentleman from Tellson's.
Miss Manette had taken some refreshment on the road, and required
none then, and was extremely anxious to see the gentleman from
Tellson's immediately, if it suited his pleasure and convenience.
The gentleman from Tellson's had nothing left for it but to empty his
glass with an air of stolid desperation, settle his odd little flaxen
wig at the ears, and follow the waiter to Miss Manette's apartment.
It was a large, dark room, furnished in a funereal manner with black
horsehair, and loaded with heavy dark tables. These had been oiled
and oiled, until the two tall candles on the table in the middle of
the room were gloomily reflected on every leaf; as if THEY were
buried, in deep graves of black mahogany, and no light to speak of
could be expected from them until they were dug out.
The obscurity was so difficult to penetrate that Mr. Lorry,
picking his way over the well-worn Turkey carpet, supposed