Seeing in this arrangement the hope of rendering real service in that pressing emergency, Miss Pross hailed it with joy. She and Jerry had beheld the coach start, had known who it was that Solomon brought, had passed some ten minutes in tortures of suspense, and were now concluding their arrangements to follow the coach, even as Madame Defarge, taking her way through the streets, now drew nearer and nearer to the else-deserted lodging in which they held their consultation.
"Now what do you think, Mr. Cruncher,"said Miss Pross, whose agitation was so great that she could hardly speak, or stand, or move, or live: "what do you think of our not starting from this courtyard? Another carriage having already gone from here to-day, it might awaken suspicion."
"My opinion, miss,"returned Mr. Cruncher, "is as you're right. Likewise wot I'll stand by you, right or wrong."
"I am so distracted with fear and hope for our precious creatures,"said Miss Pross, wildly crying, "that I am incapable of forming any plan. Are you capable of forming any plan, my dear good Mr. Cruncher?"
"Respectin' a future spear o' life, miss,"returned Mr. Cruncher, "I hope so. Respectin' any present use o' this here blessed old head o' mine, I think not. Would you do me the favour, miss, to take notice o' two promises and wows wot it is my wishes fur to record in this here crisis?"
"Oh, for gracious sake!"cried Miss Pross, still wildly crying, "record them at once, and get them out of the way, like an excellent man."
"First,"said Mr. Cruncher, who was all in a tremble, and who spoke with an ashy and solemn visage, "them poor things well out o' this, never no more will I do it, never no more!"
"I am quite sure, Mr. Cruncher,"returned Miss Pross, "that you never will do it again, whatever it is, and I beg you not to think it necessary to mention more particularly what it is."
"No, miss,"returned Jerry, "it shall not be named to you. Second: them poor things well out o' this, and never no more will I interfere with Mrs. Cruncher's flopping, never no more!"
"Whatever housekeeping arrangement that may be,"said Miss Pross, striving to dry her eyes and compose herself, "I have no doubt it is best that Mrs. Cruncher should have it entirely under her own superintendence. — O my poor darlings!"
"I go so far as to say, miss, moreover,"proceeded Mr. Cruncher, with a most alarming tendency to hold forth as from a pulpit — "and let my words be took down and took to Mrs. Cruncher through yourself — that wot my opinions respectin' flopping has undergone a change, and that wot I only hope with all my heart as Mrs. Cruncher may be a flopping at the present time."
"There, there, there! I hope she is, my dear man,"cried the distracted Miss Pross, "and I hope she finds it answering her expectations."
"Forbid it,"proceeded Mr. Cruncher, with additional solemnity, additional slowness, and additional tendency to hold forth and hold out, "as anything wot I have ever said or done should be wisited on my earnest wishes for them poor creeturs now! Forbid it as we shouldn't all flop (if it was anyways conwenient) to get 'em out o' this here dismal risk! Forbid it, miss! Wot I say, for-bid it!"This was Mr. Cruncher's conclusion after a protracted but vain endeavour to find a better one.
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