Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens



THOSE WERE drinking days, and most men drank hard. So very
great is the improvement Time has brought about in such habits,
that a moderate statement of the quantity of wine and punch which
one man would swallow in the course of a night, without any
detriment to his reputation as a perfect gentleman, would seem, in
these days, a ridiculous exaggeration. The learned profession of the
law was certainly not behind any other learned profession in its
Bacchanalian propensities; neither was Mr. Stryver, already fast
shouldering his way to a large and lucrative practice, behind his
compeers in this particular, any more than in the drier parts of the
legal race.

A favourite at the Old Bailey, and eke at the Sessions, Mr. Stryver
had begun cautiously to hew away the lower staves of the ladder
on which he mounted. Sessions and Old Bailey had now to
summon their favourite, specially, to their longing arms; and
shouldering itself towards the visage of the Lord Chief Justice in
the Court of King’s Bench, the florid countenance of Mr. Stryver
might be daily seen, bursting out of the bed of wigs, like a great
sunflower pushing its way at the sun from among a rank garden-
full of flaring companions.

It had once been noted at the Bar, that while Mr. Stryver was a glib
man, and an unscrupulous, and a ready, and a bold, he had not
that faculty of extracting the essence from a heap of statements,
which is among the most striking and necessary of the advocate’s
accomplishments. But, a remarkable improvement came upon him
as to this. The more business he got, the greater his power seemed
to grow of getting at its pith and marrow; and however late at
night he sat carousing with Sydney Carton, he always had his
points at his fingers’ ends in the morning.

Sydney Carton, idlest and most unpromising of men, was Stryver’s
great ally.

What the two drank together, between Hilary Term and
Michaelmas, might have floated a king’s ship. Stryver never had a
case in hand, anywhere, but Carton was there, with his hands in
his pockets, staring at the ceiling of the court; they went the same
Circuit, and even there they prolonged their usual orgies late into
the night, and Carton was rumoured to be seen at broad day, going
home stealthily and unsteadily to his lodgings, like a dissipated
cat. At last, it began to get about, among such as were interested in
the matter, that although Sydney Carton would never be a lion, he
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next ->

All Contents Copyright © All rights reserved.
Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page

In Association with