Nine DaysTHE marriage-day was shining brightly, and they were ready outside the closed door of the Doctor's room, where he was speaking with Charles Darnay. They were ready to go to church; the beautiful bride, Mr. Lorry, and Miss Pross--to whom the event, through a gradual process of reconcilement to the inevitable, would have been one of absolute bliss, but for the yet lingering consideration that her brother Solomon should have been the bridegroom.
`And so,' said Mr. Lorry, who could not sufficiently admire the bride, and who had been moving round her to take in every point of her quiet, pretty dress; `and so it was for this, my sweet Lucie, that I brought you across the Channel, such a baby! Lord bless me! How little I thought what I was doing! How lightly I valued the obligation I was conferring on my friend Mr. Charles!'
`You didn't mean it,' remarked the matter-of-fact Miss Pross, `and therefore how could you know it? Nonsense!'
`Really? Well; but don't cry,' said the gentle Mr. Lorry.
`I am not crying,' said Miss Pross; `you are.
`I, my Pross?' (By this time, Mr. Lorry dared to be pleasant with her, on occasion.)
`You were, just now; I saw you do it, and I don't wonder at it. Such a present of plate as you have made `em, is enough to bring tears into anybody's eyes. There's not a fork or a spoon in the collection,' said Miss Pross, `that I didn't cry over, last night after the box came, till I couldn't see it.'
`I am highly gratified,' said Mr. Lorry, `though, upon my honour, I had no intention of rendering those trifling articles of remembrance invisible to any one. Dear me! This is an occasion that makes a man speculate on all he has lost. Dear, dear, dear! To think that there might have been a Mrs. Lorry, any time these fifty years almost!'
`Not at all!' From Miss Pross.
`You think there never might have been a Mrs. Lorry?' asked the gentleman of that name.
`Pooh!' rejoined Miss Pross; `you were a bachelor in your cradle.'
`Well!' observed Mr. Lorry, beamingly adjusting his little wig, `that seems probable, too.
`And you were cut out for a bachelor,' pursued Miss Pross, `before you were put in your cradle.'
`Then, I think,' said Mr. Lorry, `that I was very unhandsomely dealt with, and that I ought to have had a voice in the selection of my pattern. Enough! Now, my dear Lucie,' drawing his arm soothingly round her waist, `I hear them moving in the next room, and Miss Pross and I, as two formal folks of business, are anxious not to lose the final opportunity of saying something to you that you wish to hear. You leave your good father, my dear, in hands as earnest and as loving as your own; he shall be taken every conceivable care of; during the next fortnight, while you are in Warwickshire and thereabouts, even Tellson's shall go to the wall (comparatively speaking) before him. And when, at the fortnight's end, he comes to join you and your beloved husband, on your other fortnight's trip in Wales, you shall say that we have sent him to you in the best health and in the happiest frame. Now I hear Somebody's step coming to the door. Let me kiss my dear girl with an old-fashioned bachelor blessing, before Somebody comes to claim his own.'
For a moment, he held the fair face from him to look at the well-remembered expression on the forehead, and then laid the bright golden hair against his little brown wig, with a genuine tenderness and delicacy which, if such things be old-fashioned, were as old as Adam.
The door of the Doctor's room opened, and he came out with Charles Darnay. He was so deadly pale-- which had not been the case when they went in together--that no vestige of colour was to be seen in his
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