“Ugh!” cried Mr. Lorry, rather relenting, nevertheless, “I am shocked at the
sight of you.”
“Ugh!” cried Mr. Lorry, relenting, nevertheless. “I am shocked at the sight of
“Now, what I would humbly offer to you, sir,” pursued Mr. Cruncher, “even if
it wos so, which I don’t say it is—”
“Now, what I would like to offer you, sir,” continued Mr. Cruncher, “even if
it was true, which I don’t say it is—”
“Don’t prevaricate,” said Mr. Lorry.
“Don’t avoid the question,” said Mr. Lorry.
“No, I will NOT, sir,” returned Mr. Crunches as if nothing were further from
his thoughts or practice—”which I don’t say it is—wot I would humbly offer to
you, sir, would be this. Upon that there stool, at that there Bar, sets that
there boy of mine, brought up and growed up to be a man, wot will errand you,
message you, general-light-job you, till your heels is where your head is, if
such should be your wishes. If it wos so, which I still don’t say it is (for I
will not prewaricate to you, sir), let that there boy keep his father’s place,
and take care of his mother; don’t blow upon that boy’s father—do not do it,
sir—and let that father go into the line of the reg’lar diggin’, and make amends
for what he would have undug—if it wos so—by diggin’ of ‘em in with a will, and
with conwictions respectin’ the futur’ keepin’ of ‘em safe. That, Mr. Lorry,”
said Mr. Cruncher, wiping his forehead with his arm, as an announcement that he
had arrived at the peroration of his discourse, “is wot I would respectfully
offer to you, sir. A man don’t see all this here a goin’ on dreadful round him,
in the way of Subjects without heads, dear me, plentiful enough fur to bring the
price down to porterage and hardly that, without havin’ his serious thoughts of
things. And these here would be mine, if it wos so, entreatin’ of you fur to
bear in mind that wot I said just now, I up and said in the good cause when I
might have kep’ it back.”
“No, I will not, sir,” answered Mr. Cruncher as if nothing
were further from his mind. “I don’t say that it is true. Here’s my offer, sir.
My boy is sitting on that stool there at Temple Bar. I brought him up and his
has grown into a man. If you want, he will run errands and messages for you and
do general small jobs for you until you’re dead. If it was true, although I
still don’t say it is—for I won’t avoid the subject, sir—let the boy take my
place and work for you. Let him take care of his mother. Don’t turn me in, sir,
let me go into honest grave digging full-time and make up for the graves I dug
up—if it was true—by digging them legally and keeping them safe. That, Mr.
Lorry, is what I respectfully offer you, sir,” said Mr. Cruncher, wiping his
forehead with his arm to show that he was finishing his speech. “There are so
many people having their heads cut off that it is bringing down the wages a man
can earn as a porter. A man doesn’t see all of these dreadful things going on
around him without having serious thoughts about things, and these would be my
thoughts. I beg you to remember that I said what I said about Mr. Barsad to help
Mr. Darnay. I could have kept quiet.”
“That at least is true,” said Mr. Lorry. “Say no more now. It may be that I
shall yet stand your friend, if you deserve it, and repent in action—not in
words. I want no more words.”
“At least that is true,” said Mr. Lorry. “Don’t say any more for now. I might
still be your friend, if you deserve it, and if you repent in action, not just
in words. I don’t want to hear any more words.”
Mr. Cruncher knuckled his forehead, as Sydney Carton and the spy returned from
the dark room. “Adieu, Mr. Barsad,” said the former; “our arrangement thus made,
you have nothing to fear from me.”
Mr. Cruncher was rubbing his forehead with his knuckle as Sydney Carton and
Barsad came back from the dark room. “Adieu, Mr. Barsad,” said Carton. “Now that
we have made our arrangement, you don’t have to be afraid of me.”
He sat down in a chair on the hearth, over against Mr. Lorry. When they were
alone, Mr. Lorry asked him what he had done?
He sat down in a chair by the fire near Mr. Lorry. When they were alone, Mr.
Lorry asked him what he had done.
“Not much. If it should go ill with the prisoner, I have ensured access to
“Not much. If things should go badly with Darnay in prison, I have made sure
that we will be able to visit him once.”
Mr. Lorry’s countenance fell.
Mr. Lorry looked disappointed.
“It is all I could do,” said Carton. “To propose too much, would be to put
this man’s head under the axe, and, as he himself said, nothing worse could
happen to him if he were denounced. It was obviously the weakness of the
position. There is no help for it.”
“It’s all I could do,” said Carton. “If I demanded too much of him, it would
put his life in danger. As he said himself, the same thing would happen to him
if he were denounced. It was the obvious weakness of my position. There is
nothing to be done about it.”