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In Three Books.



THE quiet lodgings of Doctor Manette were
in a quiet street-corner not far from Soho-square.
On the afternoon of a certain fine Sunday when
the waves of four months had rolled over the
trial for treason, and carried it, as to the public
interest and memory, far out to sea, Mr. Jarvis
Lorry walked along the sunny streets from
Clerkenwell where he lived, on his way to dine
with the Doctor. After several relapses into
business-absorption, Mr. Lorry had become the
Doctor's friend, and the quiet street-corner was
the sunny part of his life.

On this certain fine Sunday, Mr. Lorry walked
towards Soho, early in the afternoon, for three
reasons of habit. Firstly, because, on fine
Sundays, he often walked out, before dinner,
with the Doctor and Lucie; secondly, because,
on unfavourable Sundays, he was accustomed to
be with them as the family friend, talking,
reading, looking out of window, and generally
getting through the day; thirdly, because he
happened to have his own little shrewd doubts
to solve, and knew how the ways of the Doctor's
household pointed to that time as a likely time
for solving them.

A quainter corner than the corner where the
Doctor lived, was not to be found in London.
There was no way through it, and the front
windows of the Doctor's lodgings commanded a
pleasant little vista of street that had a
congenial air of retirement on it. There were few
buildings then, north of the Oxford-road, and
forest-trees flourished, and wild flowers grew,
and the hawthorn blossomed, in the now vanished
fields. As a consequence, country airs circulated
in Soho with vigorous freedom, instead
of languishing into the parish like stray paupers
without a settlement; and there was many a
good south wall, not far off, on which the peaches
ripened in their season.

The summer light struck into the corner
brilliantly in the earlier part of the day; but,
when the streets grew hot, the corner was in
shadow, though not in shadow so remote but that
you could see beyond it into a glare of brightness.
It was a cool spot, staid but cheerful, a
wonderful place for echoes, and a very harbour
from the raging streets.

There ought to have been a tranquil bark in
such an anchorage, and there was. The Doctor
occupied two floors of a large still 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 hallas 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 night.

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?"

Expected home.

"Miss Lucie at home?"

Expected 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.

"As I am at home myself," said Mr. Lorry,
"I'll go up-stairs."

Although the Doctor's daughter had known