Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
“Will you go out?” He looked down at the floor on either side of
him in the old manner, looked up in the old manner, and repeated
in the old low voice: “Out?” “Yes; for a walk with me. Why not?”
He made no effort to say why not, and said not a word more. But,
Mr. Lorry thought he saw, as he leaned forward on his bench in the
dusk, with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands, that
he was in some misty way asking himself, “Why not?” The
sagacity of the man of business perceived an advantage here, and
determined to hold it.
Miss Pross and he divided the night into two watches, and
observed him at intervals from the adjoining room. He paced up
and down for a long time before he lay down; but, when he did
finally lay himself down, he fell asleep. In the morning, he was up
betimes, and went straight to his bench and to work.
On this second day, Mr. Lorry saluted him cheerfully by his name,
and spoke to him on topics that had been of late familiar to them.
He returned no reply, but it was evident that he heard what was
said, and that he thought about it, however confusedly. This
encouraged Mr. Lorry to have Miss Pross in with her work, several
times during the day; at those times, they quietly spoke of Lucie,
and of her father then present, precisely in the usual manner, and
as if there were nothing amiss. This was done without any
demonstrative accompaniment, not long enough, or often enough
to harass him; and it lightened Mr. Lorry’s friendly heart to believe
that he looked up oftener, and that he appeared to be stirred by
some perception of inconsistencies surrounding him.
When it fell dark again, Mr. Lorry asked him as before:
“Dear Doctor, will you go out?” As before, he repeated, “Out?”
“Yes; for a walk with me. Why not?” This time, Mr. Lorry feigned
to go out when he could extract no answer from him, and, after
remaining absent for an hour, returned. In the meanwhile, the
Doctor had removed to the seat in the window, and had sat there
looking down at the plane-tree; but, on Mr. Lorry’s return, he
slipped away to his bench.
The time went very slowly on, and Mr. Lorry’s hope darkened, and
his heart grew heavier again, and grew yet heavier and heavier
every day. The third day came and went, the fourth, the fifth. Five
days, six days, seven days, eight days, nine days.
With a hope ever darkening, and with a heart always growing
heavier and heavier, Mr. Lorry passed through this anxious time.
The secret was well kept, and Lucie was unconscious and happy;
but he could not fail to observe that the shoemaker, whose hand
had been a little out at first, was growing dreadfully skilful, and
that he had never been so intent on his work, and that his hands