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indifference to fire was sufficiently remarkable to elicit a word of
remonstrance from Mr. Lorry; his boot was still upon the hot
embers of the flaming log, when it had broken under the weight of
his foot.

“I forgot it,” he said.
Mr. Lorry’s eyes were again attracted to his face. Taking note of the
wasted air which clouded the naturally handsome features, and
having the expression of prisoners’ faces fresh in his mind, he was
strongly reminded of that expression.

“And your duties here have drawn to an end, sir?” said Carton,
turning to him.

“Yes. As I was telling you last night when ucie came in so
unexpectedly, I have at length done all that I can do here. I hoped
to have left them in perfect safety, and then to have quitted Paris. I
have my Leave to Pass. I was ready to go.” They were both silent.
“Yours is a long life to look back upon, sir?” said Carton, wistfully.
“I am in my seventy-eighth year.” “You have been useful all your
life; steadily and constantly occupied; trusted, respected, and
looked up to?” “I have been a man of business, ever since I have
been a man. Indeed, I may say that I was a man of business when a
boy.” “See what a place you fill at seventy-eight. How many
people will miss you when you leave it empty!” “A solitary old
bachelor,” answered Mr. Lorry, shaking his head. “There is
nobody to weep for me.” “How can you say that? Wouldn’t She
weep for you? Wouldn’t her child?”

“Yes, yes, thank God. I didn’t quite mean what I said.” “It is a
thing to thank God for; is it not?” “Surely, surely.” “If you could
say, with truth, to your own solitary heart, to-night, ‘I have secured
to myself the love and attachment, the gratitude or respect, of no
human creature; I have won myself a tender place in no regard; I
have done nothing good or serviceable to be remembered by!’ your
seventy-eight years would be seventy-eight heavy curses; would
they not?” “You say truly, Mr. Carton; I think they would be.”
Sydney turned his eyes again upon the fire, and, after a silence of a
few moments, said: “I should like to ask you:- Does your
childhood seem far off? Do the days when you sat at your mother’s
knee, seem days of very long ago?” Responding to his softened
manner, Mr. Lorry answered:
“Twenty years back, yes; at this time of my life, no. For, as I draw
closer and closer to the end, I travel in the circle, nearer and nearer
to the beginning. It seems to be one of the kind smoothings and
preparings of the way. My heart is touched now, by many
remembrances that had long fallen asleep, of my pretty young
mother (and I so old!), and by many associations of the days when
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