Dinner-time, and still no Hundreds of people. In the arrangements of the
little household, Miss Pross took charge of the lower regions, and always
acquitted herself marvellously. Her dinners, of a very modest quality, were so
well cooked and so well served, and so neat in their contrivances, half English
and half French, that nothing could be better. Miss Pross’s friendship being of
the thoroughly practical kind, she had ravaged Soho and the adjacent provinces,
in search of impoverished French, who, tempted by shillings and half-crowns,
would impart culinary mysteries to her. From these decayed sons and daughters of
Gaul, she had acquired such wonderful arts, that the woman and girl who formed
the staff of domestics regarded her as quite a Sorceress, or Cinderella’s
Godmother: who would send out for a fowl, a rabbit, a vegetable or two from the
garden, and change them into anything she pleased.
By lunchtime still no hundreds of people had arrived. In the management of
their little household, Miss Pross was always in charge of the lower floors and
did a good job with them. The lunches she made were very modest but were well
cooked and well presented. They were so interesting, being half English and half
French, that nothing could have been better. Miss Pross, being a very practical
woman, would search Soho and other nearby neighborhoods for poor French people,
and she would pay them shillings and half crowns to tell her their secret
recipes. She had learned such wonderful cooking skills from these poor French
men and women that the woman and girl servants at the house thought of her as a
witch, or Cinderella’s fairy godmother. She could take a chicken, rabbit, or
vegetable from the garden and turn it into whatever she wanted to like magic.
On Sundays, Miss Pross dined at the Doctor’s table, but on other days
persisted in taking her meals at unknown periods, either in the lower regions,
or in her own room on the second floor—a blue chamber, to which no one but her
Ladybird ever gained admittance. On this occasion, Miss Pross, responding to
Ladybird’s pleasant face and pleasant efforts to please her, unbent exceedingly;
so the dinner was very pleasant, too.
On Sundays, Miss Pross ate at the same table as the doctor, but on other days
she insisted on eating at unknown times, either downstairs or in her own room on
the second floor. Her room was a blue room that no one was allowed to enter
except for Lucie. On this occasion, Miss Pross went out of her way to make a
good meal to please the beautiful Lucie, so the food was very good.
It was an oppressive day, and, after dinner, Lucie proposed that the wine
should be carried out under the plane-tree, and they should sit there in the
air. As everything turned upon her, and revolved about her, they went out under
the plane-tree, and she carried the wine down for the special benefit of Mr.
Lorry. She had installed herself, some time before, as Mr. Lorry’s cup-bearer;
and while they sat under the plane-tree, talking, she kept his glass
replenished. Mysterious backs and ends of houses peeped at them as they talked,
and the plane-tree whispered to them in its own way above their heads.
It was a hot day, and after lunch Lucie suggested that they take their wine
out under the plane tree, where they could sit in the fresh air. As everyone
always did what Lucie wanted, they all went out under the plane tree. Lucie
carried the wine down for Mr. Lorry. She had taken on the role of Mr. Lorry’s
cup bearer, and while they sat under the plane tree talking, she made sure his
glass was always full. They could see the backs of other houses from where they
sat talking, and the wind blew gently through the leaves of the plane tree above
Still, the Hundreds of people did not present themselves. Mr. Darnay presented
himself while they were sitting under the plane-tree, but he was only
Hundreds of people still did not arrive. Mr. Darnay came by while they were
sitting under the plane tree, but he was the only one.
Doctor Manette received him kindly, and so did Lucie. But, Miss Pross suddenly
became afflicted with a twitching in the head and body, and retired into the
house. She was not unfrequently the victim of this disorder, and she called it,
in familiar conversation, “a fit of the jerks.”
Dr. Manette welcomed him kindly, and so did Lucie. Miss Pross, however,
suddenly started twitching in her head and body and went into the house. This
often happened to her, and she would refer to it among friends as “a fit of
The Doctor was in his best condition, and looked specially young. The
resemblance between him and Lucie was very strong at such times, and as they sat
side by side, she leaning on his shoulder, and he resting his arm on the back of
her chair, it was very agreeable to trace the likeness.
The doctor was in the best health and looked especially young. At such times
he looked very much like Lucie. As they sat there, side-by-side, she leaning
against his shoulder and he resting his arm on the back of her chair, it was
very pleasant to see the similarity.
He had been talking all day, on many subjects, and with unusual vivacity.
“Pray, Doctor Manette,” said Mr. Darnay, as they sat under the plane-tree—and he
said it in the natural pursuit of the topic in hand, which happened to be the
old buildings of London—”have you seen much of the Tower?”
He had been talking all day about all sorts of things in an unusually lively
way. “Say, Dr. Manette,” said Mr. Darnay as they sat under the plane tree, “have
you seen much of the Tower of London?” He said it in regards to the topic they
were discussing at the time, which happened to be the old buildings of London.