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?"
Carton, still drinking the punch, rejoined, "Why should I not approve?"
"Well!"said his friend Stryver, "you take it more easily than I fancied you would, and are less mercenary on my behalf than I thought you would be; though, to be sure, you know well enough by this time that your ancient chum is a man of a pretty strong will. Yes, Sydney, I have had enough of this style of life, with no other as a change from it; I feel that it is a pleasant thing for a man to have a home when he feels inclined to go to it (when he doesn't, he can stay away), and I feel that Miss Manette will tell well in any station, and will always do me credit. So I have made up my mind. And now, Sydney, old boy, I want to say a word to you about your prospects. You are in a bad way, you know; you really are in a bad way. You don't know the value of money, you live hard, you'll knock up one of these days, and be ill and poor; you really ought to think about a nurse."
The prosperous patronage with which he said it, made him look twice as big as he was, and four times as offensive.
"Now, let me recommend you,"pursued Stryver, "to look it in the face. I have looked it in the face, in my different way; look it in the face, you, in your different way. Marry. Provide somebody to take care of you. Never mind your having no enjoyment of women's society, nor understanding of it, nor tact for it. Find out somebody. Find out some respectable woman with a little property — somebody in the landlady way, or lodging-letting way — and marry her, against a rainy day. That's the kind of thing for you. Now think of it, Sydney."
"I'll think of it,"said Sydney.