A Tale of Two Cities By Charles Dickens Book 2: Chapter 2 - A Sight

II

A Sight

"You know the Old Bailey, well, no doubt?"said one of the oldest of clerks to Jerry the messenger.

"Ye-es, sir,"returned Jerry, in something of a dogged manner. "I do know the Bailey."

"Just so. And you know Mr. Lorry."

"I know Mr. Lorry, sir, much better than I know the Bailey. Much better,"said Jerry, not unlike a reluctant witness at the establishment in question, "than I, as a honest tradesman, wish to know the Bailey."

"Very well. Find the door where the witnesses go in, and show the door-keeper this note for Mr. Lorry. He will then let you in."

"Into the court, sir?"

"Into the court."

Mr. Cruncher's eyes seemed to get a little closer to one another, and to interchange the inquiry, "What do you think of this?"

"Am I to wait in the court, sir?"he asked, as the result of that conference.

"I am going to tell you. The door-keeper will pass the note to Mr. Lorry, and do you make any gesture that will attract Mr. Lorry's attention, and show him where you stand. Then what you have to do, is, to remain there until he wants you."

"Is that all, sir?"

"That's all. He wishes to have a messenger at hand. This is to tell him you are there."

As the ancient clerk deliberately folded and superscribed the note, Mr. Cruncher, after surveying him in silence until he came to the blotting-paper stage, remarked:

"I suppose they'll be trying Forgeries this morning?"

"Treason!"

"That's quartering,"said Jerry. "Barbarous!"

"It is the law,"remarked the ancient clerk, turning his surprised spectacles upon him. "It is the law."

"It's hard in the law to spile a man, I think. Ifs hard enough to kill him, but it's wery hard to spile him, sir."

"Not at all,"retained the ancient clerk. "Speak well of the law. Take care of your chest and voice, my good friend, and leave the law to take care of itself. I give you that advice."

"It's the damp, sir, what settles on my chest and voice,"said Jerry. "I leave you to judge what a damp way of earning a living mine is."

"Well, well,"said the old clerk; "we all have our various ways of gaining a livelihood. Some of us have damp ways, and some of us have dry ways. Here is the letter. Go along."

Jerry took the letter, and, remarking to himself with less internal deference than he made an outward show of, "You are a lean old one, too,"made his bow, informed his son, in passing, of his destination, and went his way.

Continued on next page...

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During the day Jerry Cruncher is a porter for Tellson’s Bank. What is his occupation at night?




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