`No; but before I go on,' said Stryver, shaking his head in his bullying way, `I'll have this out with you. You've been at Dr. Manette's house as much as I have, or more than I have. Why, I have been ashamed of your moroseness there! Your manners have been of that silent and sullen and hang-dog kind, that, upon my life and soul, I have been ashamed of you, Sydney!'
`It should be very beneficial to a man in your practice at the bar, to be ashamed of anything,' returned Sydney; `you ought to be much obliged to me.
`You shall not get off in that Way,' rejoined Stryver, shouldering the rejoinder at him; `no, Sydney, it's my duty to tell you--and I tell you to your face to do you good--that you are a devilish ill-conditioned fellow in that sort of society. You are a disagreeable fellow.'
Sydney drank a bumper of the punch he had made, and laughed.
`Look at me!' said Stryver, squaring himself: `I have less need to make myself agreeable than you have, being more independent in circumstances. Why do I do it?'
`I never saw you do it yet,' muttered Carton.
`I do it because it's politic; I do it on principle. And look at me! I get on.'
`You don't get on with your account of your matrimonial intentions,' answered Carton, with a careless air; `I wish you would keep to that. As to me--will you never understand that I am incorrigible?'
He asked the question with some appearance of scorn.
`You have no business to be incorrigible,' was his friend's answer, delivered in no very soothing tone.
`I have no business to be, at all, that I know of,' said Sydney Carton. `Who is the lady?'
`Now, don't let my announcement of the name make you uncomfortable, Sydney,' said Mr. Stryver, preparing him with ostentatious friendliness for the disclosure he was about to make, `because I know you don't mean half you say; and if you meant it all, it would be of no importance. I make this little preface, because,you once mentioned the young lady to me in slighting terms.
`Certainly; and in these chambers.'
Sydney Carton looked at his punch and looked at his complacent friend; drank his punch and looked at his complacent friend.
`You made mention of the young lady as a golden-haired doll. The young lady is Miss Manette. If you had been a fellow of any sensitiveness or delicacy of feeling in that kind of way, Sydney, I might have been a little resentful of your employing such a designation; but you are not. You want that sense altogether; therefore I am no more annoyed when I think of the expression, than I should be annoyed by a man's opinion of a picture of mine, who had no eye for pictures: or of a piece of music of mine, who had no ear for music.'
Sydney Carton drank the punch at a great rate; drank it by bumpers, looking at his friend.
`Now you know all about it, Syd,' said Mr. Stryver. `I don't care about fortune: she is a charming creature, and I have made up my mind to please myself: on the whole, I think I can afford to please myself. She will have in me a man already pretty well off and a rapidly rising man, and a man of some distinction: it is a piece of good fortune for her, but she is worthy of good fortune. Are you astonished?'
Carton, still drinking the punch, rejoined, `Why should I be astonished?'
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