`I don't know that you "never will."'
`But I do, and you must take my word for it. Well! If you could endure to have such a worthless fellow, and a fellow of such indifferent reputation, coming and going at odd times, I should ask that I might be permitted to come and go as a privileged person here; that I might be regarded as an useless (and I would add, if it were not for the resemblance I detected between you and me), an unornamental, piece of furniture, tolerated for its old service, and taken no notice of. I doubt if I should abuse the permission. It is a hundred to one if I should avail myself of it four times in a year. It would satisfy me, I dare say, to know that I had it.'
`Will you try?'
`That is another way of saying that I am placed on the footing I have indicated. I thank you, Darnay. I may use that freedom with your name?'
`I think so, Carton, by this time.'
They shook hands upon it, and Sydney turned away. Within a minute afterwards, he was, to all outward appearance, as unsubstantial as ever.
When he has gone, and in the course of an evening passed with Miss Pross, the Doctor, and Mr. Lorry, Charles Darnay made some mention of this conversation in general terms, and spoke of Sydney Carton as a problem of carelessness and recklessness. He spoke of him, in short, not bitterly or meaning to bear hard upon him, but as anybody might who saw him as he showed himself.
He had no idea that this could dwell in the thoughts of his fair young wife; but, when he afterwards joined her in their own rooms, he found her waiting for him with the old pretty lifting of the forehead strongly marked.
`We are thoughtful to-night!' said Darnay, drawing his arm about her.
`Yes, dearest Charles,' with her hands on his breast, and the inquiring and attentive expression fixed upon him; `we are rather thoughtful to-night, for we have something on our mind to-night.'
`What is it, my Lucie?'
`Will you promise not to press one question on me, if I beg you not to ask it?'
"Will I promise? What will I not promise to my Love?'
What, indeed, with his hand putting aside the golden hair from the cheek, and his other hand against the heart that beat for him!
`I think, Charles, poor Mr. Carton deserves more consideration and respect than you expressed for him to-night.'
`Indeed, my own? Why so?'
`That is what you are not to ask me? But I think--I know--he does.'
`If you know it, it is enough. What would you have me do, my Life?'
`I would ask you, dearest, to be very generous with him always, and very lenient on his faults when he is not by. I would ask you to believe that he has a heart he very, very seldom reveals, and that there are deep wounds in it. My dear, I have seen it bleeding.'
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