A Tale Of Two Cities
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more. Madame Defarge gone, like a shadow over the white road.
"Give me your arm, my love. Pass from here with an air of cheerfulness
and courage, for his sake. That was well done;" they had left the spot;
"it shall not be in vain. Charles is summoned for to-morrow."
"There is no time to lose. I am well prepared, but there are
precautions to be taken, that could not be taken until he was actually
summoned before the Tribunal. He has not received the notice yet,
but I know that he will presently be summoned for to-morrow, and
removed to the Conciergerie; I have timely information.
You are not afraid?"
She could scarcely answer, "I trust in you."
"Do so, implicitly. Your suspense is nearly ended, my darling; he
shall be restored to you within a few hours; I have encompassed him
with every protection. I must see Lorry."
He stopped. There was a heavy lumbering of wheels within hearing.
They both knew too well what it meant. One. Two. Three. Three
tumbrils faring away with their dread loads over the hushing snow.
"I must see Lorry," the Doctor repeated, turning her another way.
The staunch old gentleman was still in his trust; had never left it.
He and his books were in frequent requisition as to property
confiscated and made national. What he could save for the owners, he
saved. No better man living to hold fast by what Tellson's had in
keeping, and to hold his peace.
A murky red and yellow sky, and a rising mist from the Seine, denoted
the approach of darkness. It was almost dark when they arrived at
the Bank. The stately residence of Monseigneur was altogether
blighted and deserted. Above a heap of dust and ashes in the court,
ran the letters: National Property. Republic One and Indivisible.
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death!
Who could that be with Mr. Lorry--the owner of the riding-coat upon
the chair--who must not be seen? From whom newly arrived, did he come
out, agitated and surprised, to take his favourite in his arms? To
whom did he appear to repeat her faltering words, when, raising his
voice and turning his head towards the door of the room from which he
had issued, he said: "Removed to the Conciergerie, and summoned for
The dread tribunal of five Judges, Public Prosecutor, and determined
Jury, sat every day. Their lists went forth every evening, and were
read out by the gaolers of the various prisons to their prisoners.
The standard gaoler-joke was, "Come out and listen to the Evening Paper,
you inside there!"
"Charles Evremonde, called Darnay!"
So at last began the Evening Paper at La Force.
When a name was called, its owner stepped apart into a spot reserved
for those who were announced as being thus fatally recorded. Charles
Evremonde, called Darnay, had reason to know the usage; he had seen
hundreds pass away so.
His bloated gaoler, who wore spectacles to read with, glanced over
them to assure himself that he had taken his place, and went through
the list, making a similar short pause at each name. There were
twenty-three names, but only twenty were responded to; for one of the
prisoners so summoned had died in gaol and been forgotten, and two
had already been guillotined and forgotten. The list was read, in
the vaulted chamber where Darnay had seen the associated prisoners on
the night of his arrival. Every one of those had perished in the
massacre; every human creature he had since cared for and parted with,
had died on the scaffold.
There were hurried words of farewell and kindness, but the parting
was soon over. It was the incident of every day, and the society of
La Force were engaged in the preparation of some games of forfeits
and a little concert, for that evening. They crowded to the grates
and shed tears there; but, twenty places in the projected
entertainments had to be refilled, and the time was, at best, short
to the lock-up hour, when the common rooms and corridors would be
delivered over to the great dogs who kept watch there through the
night. The prisoners were far from insensible or unfeeling; their
ways arose out of the condition of the time. Similarly, though with
a subtle difference, a species of fervour or intoxication, known,
without doubt, to have led some persons to brave the guillotine
unnecessarily, and to die by it, was not mere boastfulness, but a
wild infection of the wildly shaken public mind. In seasons of
pestilence, some of us will have a secret attraction to the disease--
a terrible passing inclination to die of it. And all of us have like
wonders hidden in our breasts, only needing circumstances to evoke them.
The passage to the Conciergerie was short and dark; the night in its
vermin-haunted cells was long and cold. Next day, fifteen prisoners
were put to the bar before Charles Darnay's name was called. All the
fifteen were condemned, and the trials of the whole occupied an hour
and a half.
"Charles Evremonde, called Darnay," was at length arraigned.
His judges sat upon the Bench in feathered hats; but the rough red
cap and tricoloured cockade was the head-dress otherwise prevailing.
Looking at the Jury and the turbulent audience, he might have thought
that the usual order of things was reversed, and that the felons were
trying the honest men. The lowest, cruelest, and worst populace of a
city, never without its quantity of low, cruel, and bad, were the
directing spirits of the scene: noisily commenting, applauding,
disapproving, anticipating, and precipitating the result, without a
check. Of the men, the greater part were armed in various ways; of
the women, some wore knives, some daggers, some ate and drank as they
looked on, many knitted. Among these last, was one, with a spare
piece of knitting under her arm as she worked. She was in a front
row, by the side of a man whom he had never seen since his arrival at
the Barrier, but whom he directly remembered as Defarge. He noticed
that she once or twice whispered in his ear, and that she seemed to
be his wife; but, what he most noticed in the two figures was, that
although they were posted as close to himself as they could be, they
never looked towards him. They seemed to be waiting for something
with a dogged determination, and they looked at the Jury, but at
nothing else. Under the President sat Doctor Manette, in his usual
quiet dress. As well as the prisoner could see, he and Mr. Lorry
were the only men there, unconnected with the Tribunal, who wore their
usual clothes, and had not assumed the coarse garb of the Carmagnole.
Charles Evremonde, called Darnay, was accused by the public
prosecutor as an emigrant, whose life was forfeit to the Republic,
under the decree which banished all emigrants on pain of Death.
It was nothing that the decree bore date since his return to France.
There he was, and there was the decree; he had been taken in France,
and his head was demanded.
"Take off his head!" cried the audience. "An enemy to the Republic!"
The President rang his bell to silence those cries, and asked the
prisoner whether it was not true that he had lived many years in England?
Undoubtedly it was.
Was he not an emigrant then? What did he call himself?
Not an emigrant, he hoped, within the sense and spirit of the law.
Why not? the President desired to know.
Because he had voluntarily relinquished a title that was distasteful
to him, and a station that was distasteful to him, and had left his
country--he submitted before the word emigrant in the present
acceptation by the Tribunal was in use--to live by his own industry
in England, rather than on the industry of the overladen people of
What proof had he of this?
He handed in the names of two witnesses; Theophile Gabelle, and
But he had married in England? the President reminded him.
True, but not an English woman.
A citizeness of France?
Yes. By birth.
Her name and family?
"Lucie Manette, only daughter of Doctor Manette, the good physician
who sits there."
This answer had a happy effect upon the audience. Cries in
exaltation of the well-known good physician rent the hall. So
capriciously were the people moved, that tears immediately rolled
down several ferocious countenances which had been glaring at the
prisoner a moment before, as if with impatience to pluck him out into
the streets and kill him.
On these few steps of his dangerous way, Charles Darnay had set his
foot according to Doctor Manette's reiterated instructions. The same
cautious counsel directed every step that lay before him, and had
prepared every inch of his road.
The President asked, why had he returned to France when he did,
and not sooner?
He had not returned sooner, he replied, simply because he had no
means of living in France, save those he had resigned; whereas, in
England, he lived by giving instruction in the French language and
literature. He had returned when he did, on the pressing and written
entreaty of a French citizen, who represented that his life was
endangered by his absence. He had come back, to save a citizen's life,
and to bear his testimony, at whatever personal hazard, to the truth.
Was that criminal in the eyes of the Republic?
The populace cried enthusiastically, "No!" and the President rang his
bell to quiet them. Which it did not, for they continued to cry
"No!" until they left off, of their own will.
The President required the name of that citizen. The accused
explained that the citizen was his first witness. He also referred
with confidence to the citizen's letter, which had been taken from
him at the Barrier, but which he did not doubt would be found among
the papers then before the President.
The Doctor had taken care that it should be there--had assured him
that it would be there--and at this stage of the proceedings it was
produced and read. Citizen Gabelle was called to confirm it, and did
so. Citizen Gabelle hinted, with infinite delicacy and politeness,
that in the pressure of business imposed on the Tribunal by the
multitude of enemies of the Republic with which it had to deal, he
had been slightly overlooked in his prison of the Abbaye--in fact,
had rather passed out of the Tribunal's patriotic remembrance--until
three days ago; when he had been summoned before it, and had been set
at liberty on the Jury's declaring themselves satisfied that the
accusation against him was answered, as to himself, by the surrender
of the citizen Evremonde, called Darnay.
Doctor Manette was next questioned. His high personal popularity,
and the clearness of his answers, made a great impression; but, as he
proceeded, as he showed that the Accused was his first friend on his
release from his long imprisonment; that, the accused had remained in
England, always faithful and devoted to his daughter and himself in
their exile; that, so far from being in favour with the Aristocrat
government there, he had actually been tried for his life by it, as
the foe of England and friend of the United States--as he brought
these circumstances into view, with the greatest discretion and with
the straightforward force of truth and earnestness, the Jury and the
populace became one. At last, when he appealed by name to Monsieur
Lorry, an English gentleman then and there present, who, like himself,
had been a witness on that English trial and could corroborate his
account of it, the Jury declared that they had heard enough, and that
they were ready with their votes if the President were content to
At every vote (the Jurymen voted aloud and individually), the
populace set up a shout of applause. All the voices were in the
prisoner's favour, and the President declared him free.
Then, began one of those extraordinary scenes with which the populace
sometimes gratified their fickleness, or their better impulses
towards generosity and mercy, or which they regarded as some set-off