May someone help me understand the syntax of the bold part in the following sentence?
From A Tale of Two Cities, Book the Second - I. Five Years Later
After bursting open a door of idiotic obstinacy with a weak rattle in its throat, you fell into Tellson's down two steps, and came to your senses in a miserable little shop, with two little counters, where the oldest of men made your cheque shake as if the wind rustled it, while they examined the signature by the dingiest of windows, which were always under a shower-bath of mud from Fleet-street, and which were made the dingier by their own iron bars proper, and the heavy shadow of Temple Bar.
I got confused on the syntax within this bold clause "which were made ..." by:
- Why there is a "the" in front of the comparative adjective "dingier"?
- What is "proper" used for?