Part 7 out of 9
"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
against their swollen account of cruel rage. No man can decide now
to which of these motives such extraordinary scenes were referable;
it is probable, to a blending of all the three, with the second
predominating. No sooner was the acquittal pronounced, than tears
were shed as freely as blood at another time, and such fraternal
embraces were bestowed upon the prisoner by as many of both sexes as
could rush at him, that after his long and unwholesome confinement he
was in danger of fainting from exhaustion; none the less because he
knew very well, that the very same people, carried by another current,
would have rushed at him with the very same intensity, to rend him to
pieces and strew him over the streets.
His removal, to make way for other accused persons who were to be
tried, rescued him from these caresses for the moment. Five were to
be tried together, next, as enemies of the Republic, forasmuch as
they had not assisted it by word or deed. So quick was the Tribunal
to compensate itself and the nation for a chance lost, that these
five came down to him before he left the place, condemned to die
within twenty-four hours. The first of them told him so, with the
customary prison sign of Death--a raised finger--and they all added
in words, "Long live the Republic!"
The five had had, it is true, no audience to lengthen their
proceedings, for when he and Doctor Manette emerged from the gate,
there was a great crowd about it, in which there seemed to be every
face he had seen in Court--except two, for which he looked in vain.
On his coming out, the concourse made at him anew, weeping,
embracing, and shouting, all by turns and all together, until the
very tide of the river on the bank of which the mad scene was acted,
seemed to run mad, like the people on the shore.
They put him into a great chair they had among them, and which they
had taken either out of the Court itself, or one of its rooms or
passages. Over the chair they had thrown a red flag, and to the back
of it they had bound a pike with a red cap on its top. In this car
of triumph, not even the Doctor's entreaties could prevent his being
carried to his home on men's shoulders, with a confused sea of red
caps heaving about him, and casting up to sight from the stormy deep
such wrecks of faces, that he more than once misdoubted his mind
being in confusion, and that he was in the tumbril on his way to the
In wild dreamlike procession, embracing whom they met and pointing
him out, they carried him on. Reddening the snowy streets with the
prevailing Republican colour, in winding and tramping through them,
as they had reddened them below the snow with a deeper dye, they
carried him thus into the courtyard of the building where he lived.
Her father had gone on before, to prepare her, and when her husband
stood upon his feet, she dropped insensible in his arms.
As he held her to his heart and turned her beautiful head between his
face and the brawling crowd, so that his tears and her lips might
come together unseen, a few of the people fell to dancing. Instantly,
all the rest fell to dancing, and the courtyard overflowed with the
Carmagnole. Then, they elevated into the vacant chair a young woman
from the crowd to be carried as the Goddess of Liberty, and then
swelling and overflowing out into the adjacent streets, and along the
river's bank, and over the bridge, the Carmagnole absorbed them every
one and whirled them away.
After grasping the Doctor's hand, as he stood victorious and proud
before him; after grasping the hand of Mr. Lorry, who came panting in
breathless from his struggle against the waterspout of the Carmagnole;
after kissing little Lucie, who was lifted up to clasp her arms round
his neck; and after embracing the ever zealous and faithful Pross who
lifted her; he took his wife in his arms, and carried her up to their
"Lucie! My own! I am safe."
"O dearest Charles, let me thank God for this on my knees as I have
prayed to Him."
They all reverently bowed their heads and hearts. When she was again
in his arms, he said to her:
"And now speak to your father, dearest. No other man in all this
France could have done what he has done for me."
She laid her head upon her father's breast, as she had laid his poor
head on her own breast, long, long ago. He was happy in the return
he had made her, he was recompensed for his suffering, he was proud
of his strength. "You must not be weak, my darling," he remonstrated;
"don't tremble so. I have saved him."
A Knock at the Door
"I have saved him." It was not another of the dreams in which he had
often come back; he was really here. And yet his wife trembled, and
a vague but heavy fear was upon her.
All the air round was so thick and dark, the people were so
passionately revengeful and fitful, the innocent were so constantly
put to death on vague suspicion and black malice, it was so
impossible to forget that many as blameless as her husband and as
dear to others as he was to her, every day shared the fate from which
he had been clutched, that her heart could not be as lightened of its
load as she felt it ought to be. The shadows of the wintry afternoon
were beginning to fall, and even now the dreadful carts were rolling
through the streets. Her mind pursued them, looking for him among
the Condemned; and then she clung closer to his real presence and
Her father, cheering her, showed a compassionate superiority to this
woman's weakness, which was wonderful to see. No garret, no shoemaking,
no One Hundred and Five, North Tower, now! He had accomplished the
task he had set himself, his promise was redeemed, he had saved Charles.
Let them all lean upon him.
Their housekeeping was of a very frugal kind: not only because that
was the safest way of life, involving the least offence to the
people, but because they were not rich, and Charles, throughout his
imprisonment, had had to pay heavily for his bad food, and for his
guard, and towards the living of the poorer prisoners. Partly on
this account, and partly to avoid a domestic spy, they kept no
servant; the citizen and citizeness who acted as porters at the
courtyard gate, rendered them occasional service; and Jerry (almost
wholly transferred to them by Mr. Lorry) had become their daily
retainer, and had his bed there every night.
It was an ordinance of the Republic One and Indivisible of Liberty,
Equality, Fraternity, or Death, that on the door or doorpost of every
house, the name of every inmate must be legibly inscribed in letters
of a certain size, at a certain convenient height from the ground.
Mr. Jerry Cruncher's name, therefore, duly embellished the doorpost
down below; and, as the afternoon shadows deepened, the owner of that
name himself appeared, from overlooking a painter whom Doctor Manette
had employed to add to the list the name of Charles Evremonde, called
In the universal fear and distrust that darkened the time, all the
usual harmless ways of life were changed. In the Doctor's little
household, as in very many others, the articles of daily consumption
that were wanted were purchased every evening, in small quantities
and at various small shops. To avoid attracting notice, and to give
as little occasion as possible for talk and envy, was the general desire.
For some months past, Miss Pross and Mr. Cruncher had discharged the
office of purveyors; the former carrying the money; the latter, the
basket. Every afternoon at about the time when the public lamps were
lighted, they fared forth on this duty, and made and brought home
such purchases as were needful. Although Miss Pross, through her
long association with a French family, might have known as much of
their language as of her own, if she had had a mind, she had no mind
in that direction; consequently she knew no more of that "nonsense"
(as she was pleased to call it) than Mr. Cruncher did. So her
manner of marketing was to plump a noun-substantive at the head of a
shopkeeper without any introduction in the nature of an article, and,
if it happened not to be the name of the thing she wanted, to look
round for that thing, lay hold of it, and hold on by it until the
bargain was concluded. She always made a bargain for it, by holding
up, as a statement of its just price, one finger less than the merchant
held up, whatever his number might be.
"Now, Mr. Cruncher," said Miss Pross, whose eyes were red with
felicity; "if you are ready, I am."
Jerry hoarsely professed himself at Miss Pross's service. He had worn
all his rust off long ago, but nothing would file his spiky head down.
"There's all manner of things wanted," said Miss Pross, "and we shall
have a precious time of it. We want wine, among the rest.
Nice toasts these Redheads will be drinking, wherever we buy it."
"It will be much the same to your knowledge, miss, I should think,"
retorted Jerry, "whether they drink your health or the Old Un's."
"Who's he?" said Miss Pross.
Mr. Cruncher, with some diffidence, explained himself as meaning "Old
"Ha!" said Miss Pross, "it doesn't need an interpreter to explain the
meaning of these creatures. They have but one, and it's Midnight
Murder, and Mischief."
"Hush, dear! Pray, pray, be cautious!" cried Lucie.
"Yes, yes, yes, I'll be cautious," said Miss Pross; "but I may say
among ourselves, that I do hope there will be no oniony and tobaccoey
smotherings in the form of embracings all round, going on in the
streets. Now, Ladybird, never you stir from that fire till I come
back! Take care of the dear husband you have recovered, and don't
move your pretty head from his shoulder as you have it now, till you
see me again! May I ask a question, Doctor Manette, before I go?"
"I think you may take that liberty," the Doctor answered, smiling.
"For gracious sake, don't talk about Liberty; we have quite enough of
that," said Miss Pross.
"Hush, dear! Again?" Lucie remonstrated.
"Well, my sweet," said Miss Pross, nodding her head emphatically,
"the short and the long of it is, that I am a subject of His Most
Gracious Majesty King George the Third;" Miss Pross curtseyed at the
name; "and as such, my maxim is, Confound their politics, Frustrate
their knavish tricks, On him our hopes we fix, God save the King!"
Mr. Cruncher, in an access of loyalty, growlingly repeated the words
after Miss Pross, like somebody at church.
"I am glad you have so much of the Englishman in you, though I wish
you had never taken that cold in your voice," said Miss Pross,
approvingly. "But the question, Doctor Manette. Is there"--it was
the good creature's way to affect to make light of anything that was
a great anxiety with them all, and to come at it in this chance
manner--"is there any prospect yet, of our getting out of this place?"
"I fear not yet. It would be dangerous for Charles yet."
"Heigh-ho-hum!" said Miss Pross, cheerfully repressing a sigh as she
glanced at her darling's golden hair in the light of the fire,
"then we must have patience and wait: that's all. We must hold up
our heads and fight low, as my brother Solomon used to say.
Now, Mr. Cruncher!--Don't you move, Ladybird!"
They went out, leaving Lucie, and her husband, her father, and the
child, by a bright fire. Mr. Lorry was expected back presently from
the Banking House. Miss Pross had lighted the lamp, but had put it
aside in a corner, that they might enjoy the fire-light undisturbed.
Little Lucie sat by her grandfather with her hands clasped through
his arm: and he, in a tone not rising much above a whisper, began to
tell her a story of a great and powerful Fairy who had opened a
prison-wall and let out a captive who had once done the Fairy a
service. All was subdued and quiet, and Lucie was more at ease than
she had been.
"What is that?" she cried, all at once.
"My dear!" said her father, stopping in his story, and laying his
hand on hers, "command yourself. What a disordered state you are in!
The least thing--nothing--startles you! YOU, your father's daughter!"
"I thought, my father," said Lucie, excusing herself, with a pale face
and in a faltering voice, "that I heard strange feet upon the stairs."
"My love, the staircase is as still as Death."
As he said the word, a blow was struck upon the door.
"Oh father, father. What can this be! Hide Charles. Save him!"
"My child," said the Doctor, rising, and laying his hand upon her
shoulder, "I HAVE saved him. What weakness is this, my dear!
Let me go to the door."
He took the lamp in his hand, crossed the two intervening outer
rooms, and opened it. A rude clattering of feet over the floor,
and four rough men in red caps, armed with sabres and pistols,
entered the room.
"The Citizen Evremonde, called Darnay," said the first.
"Who seeks him?" answered Darnay.
"I seek him. We seek him. I know you, Evremonde; I saw you before
the Tribunal to-day. You are again the prisoner of the Republic."
The four surrounded him, where he stood with his wife and child
clinging to him.
"Tell me how and why am I again a prisoner?"
"It is enough that you return straight to the Conciergerie, and will
know to-morrow. You are summoned for to-morrow."
Doctor Manette, whom this visitation had so turned into stone, that
be stood with the lamp in his hand, as if be woe a statue made to
hold it, moved after these words were spoken, put the lamp down, and
confronting the speaker, and taking him, not ungently, by the loose
front of his red woollen shirt, said:
"You know him, you have said. Do you know me?"
"Yes, I know you, Citizen Doctor."
"We all know you, Citizen Doctor," said the other three.
He looked abstractedly from one to another, and said, in a lower
voice, after a pause:
"Will you answer his question to me then? How does this happen?"
"Citizen Doctor," said the first, reluctantly, "he has been denounced
to the Section of Saint Antoine. This citizen," pointing out the
second who had entered, "is from Saint Antoine."
The citizen here indicated nodded his head, and added:
"He is accused by Saint Antoine."
"Of what?" asked the Doctor.
"Citizen Doctor," said the first, with his former reluctance, "ask no
more. If the Republic demands sacrifices from you, without doubt you
as a good patriot will be happy to make them. The Republic goes
before all. The People is supreme. Evremonde, we are pressed."
"One word," the Doctor entreated. "Will you tell me who denounced him?"
"It is against rule," answered the first; "but you can ask Him of
Saint Antoine here."
The Doctor turned his eyes upon that man. Who moved uneasily on his
feet, rubbed his beard a little, and at length said:
"Well! Truly it is against rule. But he is denounced--and
gravely--by the Citizen and Citizeness Defarge. And by one other."
"Do YOU ask, Citizen Doctor?"
"Then," said he of Saint Antoine, with a strange look, "you will be
answered to-morrow. Now, I am dumb!"
A Hand at Cards
Happily unconscious of the new calamity at home, Miss Pross threaded
her way along the narrow streets and crossed the river by the bridge
of the Pont-Neuf, reckoning in her mind the number of indispensable
purchases she had to make. Mr. Cruncher, with the basket, walked at
her side. They both looked to the right and to the left into most of
the shops they passed, had a wary eye for all gregarious assemblages
of people, and turned out of their road to avoid any very excited
group of talkers. It was a raw evening, and the misty river, blurred
to the eye with blazing lights and to the ear with harsh noises,
showed where the barges were stationed in which the smiths worked,
making guns for the Army of the Republic. Woe to the man who played
tricks with THAT Army, or got undeserved promotion in it! Better
for him that his beard had never grown, for the National Razor shaved
Having purchased a few small articles of grocery, and a measure of
oil for the lamp, Miss Pross bethought herself of the wine they
wanted. After peeping into several wine-shops, she stopped at the
sign of the Good Republican Brutus of Antiquity, not far from the
National Palace, once (and twice) the Tuileries, where the aspect of
things rather took her fancy. It had a quieter look than any other
place of the same description they had passed, and, though red with
patriotic caps, was not so red as the rest. Sounding Mr. Cruncher,
and finding him of her opinion, Miss Pross resorted to the Good
Republican Brutus of Antiquity, attended by her cavalier.
Slightly observant of the smoky lights; of the people, pipe in mouth,
playing with limp cards and yellow dominoes; of the one bare-
breasted, bare-armed, soot-begrimed workman reading a journal aloud,
and of the others listening to him; of the weapons worn, or laid
aside to be resumed; of the two or three customers fallen forward
asleep, who in the popular high-shouldered shaggy black spencer
looked, in that attitude, like slumbering bears or dogs; the two
outlandish customers approached the counter, and showed what they wanted.
As their wine was measuring out, a man parted from another man in a
corner, and rose to depart. In going, he had to face Miss Pross.
No sooner did he face her, than Miss Pross uttered a scream, and
clapped her hands.
In a moment, the whole company were on their feet. That somebody was
assassinated by somebody vindicating a difference of opinion was the
likeliest occurrence. Everybody looked to see somebody fall, but
only saw a man and a woman standing staring at each other; the man
with all the outward aspect of a Frenchman and a thorough Republican;
the woman, evidently English.
What was said in this disappointing anti-climax, by the disciples of
the Good Republican Brutus of Antiquity, except that it was something
very voluble and loud, would have been as so much Hebrew or Chaldean
to Miss Pross and her protector, though they had been all ears. But,
they had no ears for anything in their surprise. For, it must be
recorded, that not only was Miss Pross lost in amazement and
agitation, but, Mr. Cruncher--though it seemed on his own separate
and individual account--was in a state of the greatest wonder.
"What is the matter?" said the man who had caused Miss Pross to scream;
speaking in a vexed, abrupt voice (though in a low tone), and in
"Oh, Solomon, dear Solomon!" cried Miss Pross, clapping her hands
again. "After not setting eyes upon you or hearing of you for so
long a time, do I find you here!"
"Don't call me Solomon. Do you want to be the death of me?" asked
the man, in a furtive, frightened way.
"Brother, brother!" cried Miss Pross, bursting into tears. "Have I
ever been so hard with you that you ask me such a cruel question?"
"Then hold your meddlesome tongue," said Solomon, "and come out, if
you want to speak to me. Pay for your wine, and come out.
Who's this man?"
Miss Pross, shaking her loving and dejected head at her by no means
affectionate brother, said through her tears, "Mr. Cruncher."
"Let him come out too," said Solomon. "Does he think me a ghost?"
Apparently, Mr. Cruncher did, to judge from his looks. He said not a
word, however, and Miss Pross, exploring the depths of her reticule
through her tears with great difficulty paid for her wine. As she
did so, Solomon turned to the followers of the Good Republican Brutus
of Antiquity, and offered a few words of explanation in the French
language, which caused them all to relapse into their former places
"Now," said Solomon, stopping at the dark street corner, "what do you want?"
"How dreadfully unkind in a brother nothing has ever turned my love
away from!" cried Miss Pross, "to give me such a greeting, and show
me no affection."
"There. Confound it! There," said Solomon, making a dab at Miss
Pross's lips with his own. "Now are you content?"
Miss Pross only shook her head and wept in silence.
"If you expect me to be surprised," said her brother Solomon, "I am
not surprised; I knew you were here; I know of most people who are
here. If you really don't want to endanger my existence--which I half
believe you do--go your ways as soon as possible, and let me go mine.
I am busy. I am an official."
"My English brother Solomon," mourned Miss Pross, casting up her
tear-fraught eyes, "that had the makings in him of one of the best
and greatest of men in his native country, an official among
foreigners, and such foreigners! I would almost sooner have seen the
dear boy lying in his--"
"I said so!" cried her brother, interrupting. "I knew it. You want
to be the death of me. I shall be rendered Suspected, by my own
sister. Just as I am getting on!"
"The gracious and merciful Heavens forbid!" cried Miss Pross. "Far
rather would I never see you again, dear Solomon, though I have ever
loved you truly, and ever shall. Say but one affectionate word to
me, and tell me there is nothing angry or estranged between us, and I
will detain you no longer."
Good Miss Pross! As if the estrangement between them had come of any
culpability of hers. As if Mr. Lorry had not known it for a fact,
years ago, in the quiet corner in Soho, that this precious brother
had spent her money and left her!
He was saying the affectionate word, however, with a far more
grudging condescension and patronage than he could have shown if
their relative merits and positions had been reversed (which is
invariably the case, all the world over), when Mr. Cruncher, touching
him on the shoulder, hoarsely and unexpectedly interposed with the
following singular question:
"I say! Might I ask the favour? As to whether your name is John
Solomon, or Solomon John?"
The official turned towards him with sudden distrust. He had not
previously uttered a word.
"Come!" said Mr. Cruncher. "Speak out, you know." (Which, by the
way, was more than he could do himself.) "John Solomon, or Solomon
John? She calls you Solomon, and she must know, being your sister.
And _I_ know you're John, you know. Which of the two goes first?
And regarding that name of Pross, likewise. That warn't your name
over the water."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I don't know all I mean, for I can't call to mind what your
name was, over the water."
"No. But I'll swear it was a name of two syllables."
"Yes. T'other one's was one syllable. I know you. You was a spy--
witness at the Bailey. What, in the name of the Father of Lies,
own father to yourself, was you called at that time?"
"Barsad," said another voice, striking in.
"That's the name for a thousand pound!" cried Jerry.
The speaker who struck in, was Sydney Carton. He had his hands
behind him under the skirts of his riding-coat, and he stood at
Mr. Cruncher's elbow as negligently as he might have stood at the Old
"Don't be alarmed, my dear Miss Pross. I arrived at Mr. Lorry's,
to his surprise, yesterday evening; we agreed that I would not
present myself elsewhere until all was well, or unless I could be
useful; I present myself here, to beg a little talk with your brother.
I wish you had a better employed brother than Mr. Barsad. I wish
for your sake Mr. Barsad was not a Sheep of the Prisons."
Sheep was a cant word of the time for a spy, under the gaolers.
The spy, who was pale, turned paler, and asked him how he dared--
"I'll tell you," said Sydney. "I lighted on you, Mr. Barsad, coming
out of the prison of the Conciergerie while I was contemplating the
walls, an hour or more ago. You have a face to be remembered, and I
remember faces well. Made curious by seeing you in that connection,
and having a reason, to which you are no stranger, for associating
you with the misfortunes of a friend now very unfortunate, I walked
in your direction. I walked into the wine-shop here, close after you,
and sat near you. I had no difficulty in deducing from your unreserved
conversation, and the rumour openly going about among your admirers,
the nature of your calling. And gradually, what I had done at random,
seemed to shape itself into a purpose, Mr. Barsad."
"What purpose?" the spy asked.
"It would be troublesome, and might be dangerous, to explain in the
street. Could you favour me, in confidence, with some minutes of
your company--at the office of Tellson's Bank, for instance?"
"Under a threat?"
"Oh! Did I say that?"
"Then, why should I go there?"
"Really, Mr. Barsad, I can't say, if you can't."
"Do you mean that you won't say, sir?" the spy irresolutely asked.
"You apprehend me very clearly, Mr. Barsad. I won't."
Carton's negligent recklessness of manner came powerfully in aid of
his quickness and skill, in such a business as he had in his secret
mind, and with such a man as he had to do with. His practised eye
saw it, and made the most of it.
"Now, I told you so," said the spy, casting a reproachful look at his
sister; "if any trouble comes of this, it's your doing."
"Come, come, Mr. Barsad!" exclaimed Sydney. "Don't be
ungrateful. But for my great respect for your sister, I might not
have led up so pleasantly to a little proposal that I wish to make
for our mutual satisfaction. Do you go with me to the Bank?"
"I'll hear what you have got to say. Yes, I'll go with you."
"I propose that we first conduct your sister safely to the corner of
her own street. Let me take your arm, Miss Pross. This is not a
good city, at this time, for you to be out in, unprotected; and as
your escort knows Mr. Barsad, I will invite him to Mr. Lorry's with us.
Are we ready? Come then!"
Miss Pross recalled soon afterwards, and to the end of her life
remembered, that as she pressed her hands on Sydney's arm and looked
up in his face, imploring him to do no hurt to Solomon, there was a
braced purpose in the arm and a kind of inspiration in the eyes,
which not only contradicted his light manner, but changed and raised
the man. She was too much occupied then with fears for the brother
who so little deserved her affection, and with Sydney's friendly
reassurances, adequately to heed what she observed.
They left her at the corner of the street, and Carton led the way to
Mr. Lorry's, which was within a few minutes' walk. John Barsad, or
Solomon Pross, walked at his side.
Mr. Lorry had just finished his dinner, and was sitting before a
cheery little log or two of fire--perhaps looking into their blaze
for the picture of that younger elderly gentleman from Tellson's, who
had looked into the red coals at the Royal George at Dover, now a
good many years ago. He turned his head as they entered, and showed
the surprise with which he saw a stranger.
"Miss Pross's brother, sir," said Sydney. "Mr. Barsad."
"Barsad?" repeated the old gentleman, "Barsad? I have an association
with the name--and with the face."
"I told you you had a remarkable face, Mr. Barsad," observed Carton,
coolly. "Pray sit down."
As he took a chair himself, he supplied the link that Mr. Lorry
wanted, by saying to him with a frown, "Witness at that trial."
Mr. Lorry immediately remembered, and regarded his new visitor with
an undisguised look of abhorrence.
"Mr. Barsad has been recognised by Miss Pross as the affectionate
brother you have heard of," said Sydney, "and has acknowledged the
relationship. I pass to worse news. Darnay has been arrested again."
Struck with consternation, the old gentleman exclaimed, "What do you
tell me! I left him safe and free within these two hours, and am
about to return to him!"
"Arrested for all that. When was it done, Mr. Barsad?"
"Just now, if at all."
"Mr. Barsad is the best authority possible, sir," said Sydney, "and I
have it from Mr. Barsad's communication to a friend and brother Sheep
over a bottle of wine, that the arrest has taken place. He left the
messengers at the gate, and saw them admitted by the porter.
There is no earthly doubt that he is retaken."
Mr. Lorry's business eye read in the speaker's face that it was loss
of time to dwell upon the point. Confused, but sensible that
something might depend on his presence of mind, he commanded himself,
and was silently attentive.
"Now, I trust," said Sydney to him, "that the name and influence of
Doctor Manette may stand him in as good stead to-morrow--you said he
would be before the Tribunal again to-morrow, Mr. Barsad?--"
"Yes; I believe so."
"--In as good stead to-morrow as to-day. But it may not be so.
I own to you, I am shaken, Mr. Lorry, by Doctor Manette's not having
had the power to prevent this arrest."
"He may not have known of it beforehand," said Mr. Lorry.
"But that very circumstance would be alarming, when we remember how
identified he is with his son-in-law."
"That's true," Mr. Lorry acknowledged, with his troubled hand at his
chin, and his troubled eyes on Carton.
"In short," said Sydney, "this is a desperate time, when desperate
games are played for desperate stakes. Let the Doctor play the
winning game; I will play the losing one. No man's life here is
worth purchase. Any one carried home by the people to-day, may be
condemned tomorrow. Now, the stake I have resolved to play for, in
case of the worst, is a friend in the Conciergerie. And the friend I
purpose to myself to win, is Mr. Barsad."
"You need have good cards, sir," said the spy.
"I'll run them over. I'll see what I hold,--Mr. Lorry, you know
what a brute I am; I wish you'd give me a little brandy."
It was put before him, and he drank off a glassful--drank off another
glassful--pushed the bottle thoughtfully away.
"Mr. Barsad," he went on, in the tone of one who really was looking
over a hand at cards: "Sheep of the prisons, emissary of Republican
committees, now turnkey, now prisoner, always spy and secret
informer, so much the more valuable here for being English that an
Englishman is less open to suspicion of subornation in those
characters than a Frenchman, represents himself to his employers
under a false name. That's a very good card. Mr. Barsad, now in the
employ of the republican French government, was formerly in the
employ of the aristocratic English government, the enemy of France
and freedom. That's an excellent card. Inference clear as day in
this region of suspicion, that Mr. Barsad, still in the pay of the
aristocratic English government, is the spy of Pitt, the treacherous
foe of the Republic crouching in its bosom, the English traitor and
agent of all mischief so much spoken of and so difficult to find.
That's a card not to be beaten. Have you followed my hand, Mr. Barsad?"
"Not to understand your play," returned the spy, somewhat uneasily.
"I play my Ace, Denunciation of Mr. Barsad to the nearest Section
Committee. Look over your hand, Mr. Barsad, and see what you have.
He drew the bottle near, poured out another glassful of brandy,
and drank it off. He saw that the spy was fearful of his drinking
himself into a fit state for the immediate denunciation of him.
Seeing it, he poured out and drank another glassful.
"Look over your hand carefully, Mr. Barsad. Take time."
It was a poorer hand than he suspected. Mr. Barsad saw losing cards
in it that Sydney Carton knew nothing of. Thrown out of his
honourable employment in England, through too much unsuccessful hard
swearing there--not because he was not wanted there; our English
reasons for vaunting our superiority to secrecy and spies are of very
modern date--he knew that he had crossed the Channel, and accepted
service in France: first, as a tempter and an eavesdropper among his
own countrymen there: gradually, as a tempter and an eavesdropper
among the natives. He knew that under the overthrown government he
had been a spy upon Saint Antoine and Defarge's wine-shop; had
received from the watchful police such heads of information
concerning Doctor Manette's imprisonment, release, and history, as
should serve him for an introduction to familiar conversation with
the Defarges; and tried them on Madame Defarge, and had broken down
with them signally. He always remembered with fear and trembling,
that that terrible woman had knitted when he talked with her, and had
looked ominously at him as her fingers moved. He had since seen her,
in the Section of Saint Antoine, over and over again produce her
knitted registers, and denounce people whose lives the guillotine
then surely swallowed up. He knew, as every one employed as he was
did, that he was never safe; that flight was impossible; that he was
tied fast under the shadow of the axe; and that in spite of his
utmost tergiversation and treachery in furtherance of the reigning
terror, a word might bring it down upon him. Once denounced, and on
such grave grounds as had just now been suggested to his mind, he
foresaw that the dreadful woman of whose unrelenting character he had
seen many proofs, would produce against him that fatal register, and
would quash his last chance of life. Besides that all secret men are
men soon terrified, here were surely cards enough of one black suit,
to justify the holder in growing rather livid as he turned them over.
"You scarcely seem to like your hand," said Sydney, with the greatest
composure. "Do you play?"
"I think, sir," said the spy, in the meanest manner, as he turned to
Mr. Lorry, "I may appeal to a gentleman of your years and benevolence,
to put it to this other gentleman, so much your junior, whether he
can under any circumstances reconcile it to his station to play that
Ace of which he has spoken. I admit that _I_ am a spy, and that it
is considered a discreditable station--though it must be filled by
somebody; but this gentleman is no spy, and why should he so demean
himself as to make himself one?"
"I play my Ace, Mr. Barsad," said Carton, taking the answer on himself,
and looking at his watch, "without any scruple, in a very few minutes."
"I should have hoped, gentlemen both," said the spy, always striving
to hook Mr. Lorry into the discussion, "that your respect for my
"I could not better testify my respect for your sister than by
finally relieving her of her brother," said Sydney Carton.
"You think not, sir?"
"I have thoroughly made up my mind about it."
The smooth manner of the spy, curiously in dissonance with his
ostentatiously rough dress, and probably with his usual demeanour,
received such a check from the inscrutability of Carton,--who was a
mystery to wiser and honester men than he,--that it faltered here and
failed him. While he was at a loss, Carton said, resuming his former
air of contemplating cards:
"And indeed, now I think again, I have a strong impression that I
have another good card here, not yet enumerated. That friend and
fellow-Sheep, who spoke of himself as pasturing in the country prisons;
who was he?"
"French. You don't know him," said the spy, quickly.
"French, eh?" repeated Carton, musing, and not appearing to notice
him at all, though he echoed his word. "Well; he may be."
"Is, I assure you," said the spy; "though it's not important."
"Though it's not important," repeated Carton, in the same mechanical
way--"though it's not important--No, it's not important. No. Yet I
know the face."
"I think not. I am sure not. It can't be," said the spy.
"It-can't-be," muttered Sydney Carton, retrospectively, and idling
his glass (which fortunately was a small one) again. "Can't-be.
Spoke good French. Yet like a foreigner, I thought?"
"Provincial," said the spy.
"No. Foreign!" cried Carton, striking his open hand on the table, as
a light broke clearly on his mind. "Cly! Disguised, but the same man.
We had that man before us at the Old Bailey."
"Now, there you are hasty, sir," said Barsad, with a smile that gave
his aquiline nose an extra inclination to one side; "there you really
give me an advantage over you. Cly (who I will unreservedly admit,
at this distance of time, was a partner of mine) has been dead
several years. I attended him in his last illness. He was buried in
London, at the church of Saint Pancras-in-the-Fields. His unpopularity
with the blackguard multitude at the moment prevented my following
his remains, but I helped to lay him in his coffin."
Here, Mr. Lorry became aware, from where he sat, of a most remarkable
goblin shadow on the wall. Tracing it to its source, he discovered
it to be caused by a sudden extraordinary rising and stiffening of
all the risen and stiff hair on Mr. Cruncher's head.
"Let us be reasonable," said the spy, "and let us be fair. To show
you how mistaken you are, and what an unfounded assumption yours is,
I will lay before you a certificate of Cly's burial, which I happened
to have carried in my pocket-book," with a hurried hand he produced
and opened it, "ever since. There it is. Oh, look at it, look at it!
You may take it in your hand; it's no forgery."
Here, Mr. Lorry perceived the reflection on the wall to elongate, and
Mr. Cruncher rose and stepped forward. His hair could not have been
more violently on end, if it had been that moment dressed by the Cow
with the crumpled horn in the house that Jack built.
Unseen by the spy, Mr. Cruncher stood at his side, and touched him on
the shoulder like a ghostly bailiff.
"That there Roger Cly, master," said Mr. Cruncher, with a taciturn
and iron-bound visage. "So YOU put him in his coffin?"
"Who took him out of it?"
Barsad leaned back in his chair, and stammered, "What do you mean?"
"I mean," said Mr. Cruncher, "that he warn't never in it. No! Not he!
I'll have my head took off, if he was ever in it."
The spy looked round at the two gentlemen; they both looked in
unspeakable astonishment at Jerry.
"I tell you," said Jerry, "that you buried paving-stones and earth in
that there coffin. Don't go and tell me that you buried Cly. It was
a take in. Me and two more knows it."
"How do you know it?"
"What's that to you? Ecod!" growled Mr. Cruncher, "it's you I have got
a old grudge again, is it, with your shameful impositions upon tradesmen!
I'd catch hold of your throat and choke you for half a guinea."
Sydney Carton, who, with Mr. Lorry, had been lost in amazement at
this turn of the business, here requested Mr. Cruncher to moderate
and explain himself.
"At another time, sir," he returned, evasively, "the present time is
ill-conwenient for explainin'. What I stand to, is, that he knows
well wot that there Cly was never in that there coffin. Let him say
he was, in so much as a word of one syllable, and I'll either catch
hold of his throat and choke him for half a guinea;" Mr. Cruncher
dwelt upon this as quite a liberal offer; "or I'll out and announce him."
"Humph! I see one thing," said Carton. "I hold another card,
Mr. Barsad. Impossible, here in raging Paris, with Suspicion filling
the air, for you to outlive denunciation, when you are in communication
with another aristocratic spy of the same antecedents as yourself,
who, moreover, has the mystery about him of having feigned death and
come to life again! A plot in the prisons, of the foreigner against
the Republic. A strong card--a certain Guillotine card! Do you play?"
"No!" returned the spy. "I throw up. I confess that we were so
unpopular with the outrageous mob, that I only got away from England
at the risk of being ducked to death, and that Cly was so ferreted up
and down, that he never would have got away at all but for that sham.
Though how this man knows it was a sham, is a wonder of wonders to me."
"Never you trouble your head about this man," retorted the
contentious Mr. Cruncher; "you'll have trouble enough with giving
your attention to that gentleman. And look here! Once more!"--
Mr. Cruncher could not be restrained from making rather an ostentatious
parade of his liberality--"I'd catch hold of your throat and choke
you for half a guinea."
The Sheep of the prisons turned from him to Sydney Carton, and said,
with more decision, "It has come to a point. I go on duty soon, and
can't overstay my time. You told me you had a proposal; what is it?
Now, it is of no use asking too much of me. Ask me to do anything in
my office, putting my head in great extra danger, and I had better
trust my life to the chances of a refusal than the chances of consent.
In short, I should make that choice. You talk of desperation.
We are all desperate here. Remember! I may denounce you if I think
proper, and I can swear my way through stone walls, and so can others.
Now, what do you want with me?"
"Not very much. You are a turnkey at the Conciergerie?"
"I tell you once for all, there is no such thing as an escape possible,"
said the spy, firmly.
"Why need you tell me what I have not asked? You are a turnkey at the
"I am sometimes."
"You can be when you choose?"
"I can pass in and out when I choose."
Sydney Carton filled another glass with brandy, poured it slowly out
upon the hearth, and watched it as it dropped. It being all spent,
he said, rising:
"So far, we have spoken before these two, because it was as well that
the merits of the cards should not rest solely between you and me.
Come into the dark room here, and let us have one final word alone."
The Game Made
While Sydney Carton and the Sheep of the prisons were in the
adjoining dark room, speaking so low that not a sound was heard,
Mr. Lorry looked at Jerry in considerable doubt and mistrust. That
honest tradesman's manner of receiving the look, did not inspire
confidence; he changed the leg on which he rested, as often as if he
had fifty of those limbs, and were trying them all; he examined his
finger-nails with a very questionable closeness of attention; and
whenever Mr. Lorry's eye caught his, he was taken with that peculiar
kind of short cough requiring the hollow of a hand before it, which
is seldom, if ever, known to be an infirmity attendant on perfect
openness of character.
"Jerry," said Mr. Lorry. "Come here."
Mr. Cruncher came forward sideways, with one of his shoulders in
advance of him.
"What have you been, besides a messenger?"
After some cogitation, accompanied with an intent look at his patron,
Mr. Cruncher conceived the luminous idea of replying, "Agicultooral
"My mind misgives me much," said Mr. Lorry, angrily shaking a
forefinger at him, "that you have used the respectable and great
house of Tellson's as a blind, and that you have had an unlawful
occupation of an infamous description. If you have, don't expect me
to befriend you when you get back to England. If you have, don't
expect me to keep your secret. Tellson's shall not be imposed upon."
"I hope, sir," pleaded the abashed Mr. Cruncher, "that a gentleman
like yourself wot I've had the honour of odd jobbing till I'm grey at
it, would think twice about harming of me, even if it wos so--I don't
say it is, but even if it wos. And which it is to be took into
account that if it wos, it wouldn't, even then, be all o' one side.
There'd be two sides to it. There might be medical doctors at the
present hour, a picking up their guineas where a honest tradesman
don't pick up his fardens--fardens! no, nor yet his half fardens--
half fardens! no, nor yet his quarter--a banking away like smoke at
Tellson's, and a cocking their medical eyes at that tradesman on the
sly, a going in and going out to their own carriages--ah! equally
like smoke, if not more so. Well, that 'ud be imposing, too, on
Tellson's. For you cannot sarse the goose and not the gander.
And here's Mrs. Cruncher, or leastways wos in the Old England times,
and would be to-morrow, if cause given, a floppin' again the business
to that degree as is ruinating--stark ruinating! Whereas them medical
doctors' wives don't flop--catch 'em at it! Or, if they flop, their
toppings goes in favour of more patients, and how can you rightly
have one without t'other? Then, wot with undertakers, and wot with
parish clerks, and wot with sextons, and wot with private watchmen
(all awaricious and all in it), a man wouldn't get much by it, even
if it wos so. And wot little a man did get, would never prosper with
him, Mr. Lorry. He'd never have no good of it; he'd want all along
to be out of the line, if he, could see his way out, being once in--
even if it wos so."
"Ugh!" cried Mr. Lorry, rather relenting, nevertheless, "I am shocked
at the sight of you."
"Now, what I would humbly offer to you, sir," pursued Mr. Cruncher,
"even if it wos so, which I don't say it is--"
"Don't prevaricate," said Mr. Lorry.
"No, I will NOT, sir," returned Mr. Crunches as if nothing were
further from his thoughts or practice--"which I don't say it is--wot
I would humbly offer to you, sir, would be this. Upon that there
stool, at that there Bar, sets that there boy of mine, brought up and
growed up to be a man, wot will errand you, message you, general-
light-job you, till your heels is where your head is, if such should
be your wishes. If it wos so, which I still don't say it is (for I
will not prewaricate to you, sir), let that there boy keep his
father's place, and take care of his mother; don't blow upon that
boy's father--do not do it, sir--and let that father go into the line
of the reg'lar diggin', and make amends for what he would have
undug--if it wos so-by diggin' of 'em in with a will, and with
conwictions respectin' the futur' keepin' of 'em safe. That,
Mr. Lorry," said Mr. Cruncher, wiping his forehead with his arm, as
an announcement that he had arrived at the peroration of his
discourse, "is wot I would respectfully offer to you, sir. A man
don't see all this here a goin' on dreadful round him, in the way of
Subjects without heads, dear me, plentiful enough fur to bring the
price down to porterage and hardly that, without havin' his serious
thoughts of things. And these here would be mine, if it wos so,
entreatin' of you fur to bear in mind that wot I said just now, I up
and said in the good cause when I might have kep' it back."
"That at least is true," said Mr. Lorry. "Say no more now. It may be
that I shall yet stand your friend, if you deserve it, and repent in
action--not in words. I want no more words."
Mr. Cruncher knuckled his forehead, as Sydney Carton and the spy
returned from the dark room. "Adieu, Mr. Barsad," said the former;
"our arrangement thus made, you have nothing to fear from me."
He sat down in a chair on the hearth, over against Mr. Lorry.
When they were alone, Mr. Lorry asked him what he had done?
"Not much. If it should go ill with the prisoner, I have ensured
access to him, once."
Mr. Lorry's countenance fell.
"It is all I could do," said Carton. "To propose too much, would be
to put this man's head under the axe, and, as he himself said,
nothing worse could happen to him if he were denounced. It was
obviously the weakness of the position. There is no help for it."
"But access to him," said Mr. Lorry, "if it should go ill before the
Tribunal, will not save him."
"I never said it would."
Mr. Lorry's eyes gradually sought the fire; his sympathy with his
darling, and the heavy disappointment of his second arrest, gradually
weakened them; he was an old man now, overborne with anxiety of late,
and his tears fell.
"You are a good man and a true friend," said Carton, in an altered
voice. "Forgive me if I notice that you are affected. I could not
see my father weep, and sit by, careless. And I could not respect
your sorrow more, if you were my father. You are free from that
Though he said the last words, with a slip into his usual manner,
there was a true feeling and respect both in his tone and in his
touch, that Mr. Lorry, who had never seen the better side of him,
was wholly unprepared for. He gave him his hand, and Carton gently
"To return to poor Darnay," said Carton. "Don't tell Her of this
interview, or this arrangement. It would not enable Her to go to see
him. She might think it was contrived, in case of the worse, to
convey to him the means of anticipating the sentence."
Mr. Lorry had not thought of that, and he looked quickly at Carton to
see if it were in his mind. It seemed to be; he returned the look,
and evidently understood it.
"She might think a thousand things," Carton said, "and any of them
would only add to her trouble. Don't speak of me to her. As I said
to you when I first came, I had better not see her. I can put my
hand out, to do any little helpful work for her that my hand can find
to do, without that. You are going to her, I hope? She must be very
"I am going now, directly."
"I am glad of that. She has such a strong attachment to you and
reliance on you. How does she look?"
"Anxious and unhappy, but very beautiful."
It was a long, grieving sound, like a sigh--almost like a sob. It
attracted Mr. Lorry's eyes to Carton's face, which was turned to the
fire. A light, or a shade (the old gentleman could not have said
which), passed from it as swiftly as a change will sweep over a
hill-side on a wild bright day, and he lifted his foot to put back
one of the little flaming logs, which was tumbling forward. He wore
the white riding-coat and top-boots, then in vogue, and the light of
the fire touching their light surfaces made him look very pale, with
his long brown hair, all untrimmed, hanging loose about him. His
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 Lucie 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?"
"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
"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 what we
call the World was not so real with me, and my faults were not
confirmed in me."
"I understand the feeling!" exclaimed Carton, with a bright flush.
"And you are the better for it?"
"I hope so."
Carton terminated the conversation here, by rising to help him on
with his outer coat; "But you," said Mr. Lorry, reverting to the theme,
"you are young."
"Yes," said Carton. "I am not old, but my young way was never the
way to age. Enough of me."
"And of me, I am sure," said Mr. Lorry. "Are you going out?"
"I'll walk with you to her gate. You know my vagabond and restless
habits. If I should prowl about the streets a long time, don't be
uneasy; I shall reappear in the morning. You go to the Court to-morrow?"
"I shall be there, but only as one of the crowd. My Spy will find a
place for me. Take my arm, sir."
Mr. Lorry did so, and they went down-stairs and out in the streets.
A few minutes brought them to Mr. Lorry's destination. Carton left
him there; but lingered at a little distance, and turned back to the
gate again when it was shut, and touched it. He had heard of her
going to the prison every day. "She came out here," he said, looking
about him, "turned this way, must have trod on these stones often.
Let me follow in her steps."
It was ten o'clock at night when he stood before the prison of La
Force, where she had stood hundreds of times. A little wood-sawyer,
having closed his shop, was smoking his pipe at his shop-door.
"Good night, citizen," said Sydney Carton, pausing in going by;
for, the man eyed him inquisitively.
"Good night, citizen."
"How goes the Republic?"
"You mean the Guillotine. Not ill. Sixty-three to-day. We shall
mount to a hundred soon. Samson and his men complain sometimes, of
being exhausted. Ha, ha, ha! He is so droll, that Samson.
Such a Barber!"
"Do you often go to see him--"
"Shave? Always. Every day. What a barber! You have seen him at work?"
"Go and see him when he has a good batch. Figure this to yourself,
citizen; he shaved the sixty-three to-day, in less than two pipes!
Less than two pipes. Word of honour!"
As the grinning little man held out the pipe he was smoking, to
explain how he timed the executioner, Carton was so sensible of a
rising desire to strike the life out of him, that he turned away.
"But you are not English," said the wood-sawyer, "though you wear
"Yes," said Carton, pausing again, and answering over his shoulder.
"You speak like a Frenchman."
"I am an old student here."
"Aha, a perfect Frenchman! Good night, Englishman."
"Good night, citizen."
"But go and see that droll dog," the little man persisted, calling
after him. "And take a pipe with you!"
Sydney had not gone far out of sight, when he stopped in the middle
of the street under a glimmering lamp, and wrote with his pencil on a
scrap of paper. Then, traversing with the decided step of one who
remembered the way well, several dark and dirty streets--much dirtier
than usual, for the best public thoroughfares remained uncleansed in
those times of terror--he stopped at a chemist's shop, which the
owner was closing with his own hands. A small, dim, crooked shop,
kept in a tortuous, up-hill thoroughfare, by a small, dim, crooked man.
Giving this citizen, too, good night, as he confronted him at his
counter, he laid the scrap of paper before him. "Whew!" the chemist
whistled softly, as he read it. "Hi! hi! hi!"
Sydney Carton took no heed, and the chemist said:
"For you, citizen?"
"You will be careful to keep them separate, citizen? You know the
consequences of mixing them?"
Certain small packets were made and given to him. He put them, one
by one, in the breast of his inner coat, counted out the money for
them, and deliberately left the shop. "There is nothing more to do,"
said he, glancing upward at the moon, "until to-morrow. I can't sleep."
It was not a reckless manner, the manner in which he said these words
aloud under the fast-sailing clouds, nor was it more expressive of
negligence than defiance. It was the settled manner of a tired man,
who had wandered and struggled and got lost, but who at length struck
into his road and saw its end.
Long ago, when he had been famous among his earliest competitors as a
youth of great promise, he had followed his father to the grave.
His mother had died, years before. These solemn words, which had
been read at his father's grave, arose in his mind as he went down
the dark streets, among the heavy shadows, with the moon and the
clouds sailing on high above him. "I am the resurrection and the
life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall
In a city dominated by the axe, alone at night, with natural sorrow
rising in him for the sixty-three who had been that day put to death,
and for to-morrow's victims then awaiting their doom in the prisons,
and still of to-morrow's and to-morrow's, the chain of association
that brought the words home, like a rusty old ship's anchor from the
deep, might have been easily found. He did not seek it, but repeated
them and went on.
With a solemn interest in the lighted windows where the people were
going to rest, forgetful through a few calm hours of the horrors
surrounding them; in the towers of the churches, where no prayers
were said, for the popular revulsion had even travelled that length
of self-destruction from years of priestly impostors, plunderers, and
profligates; in the distant burial-places, reserved, as they wrote
upon the gates, for Eternal Sleep; in the abounding gaols; and in the
streets along which the sixties rolled to a death which had become so
common and material, that no sorrowful story of a haunting Spirit
ever arose among the people out of all the working of the Guillotine;
with a solemn interest in the whole life and death of the city
settling down to its short nightly pause in fury; Sydney Carton
crossed the Seine again for the lighter streets.
Few coaches were abroad, for riders in coaches were liable to be
suspected, and gentility hid its head in red nightcaps, and put on
heavy shoes, and trudged. But, the theatres were all well filled,
and the people poured cheerfully out as he passed, and went chatting
home. At one of the theatre doors, there was a little girl with a
mother, looking for a way across the street through the mud.
He carried the child over, and before, the timid arm was loosed from
his neck asked her for a kiss.
"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and
whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die."
Now, that the streets were quiet, and the night wore on, the words
were in the echoes of his feet, and were in the air. Perfectly calm
and steady, he sometimes repeated them to himself as he walked; but,
he heard them always.
The night wore out, and, as he stood upon the bridge listening to the
water as it splashed the river-walls of the Island of Paris, where
the picturesque confusion of houses and cathedral shone bright in the
light of the moon, the day came coldly, looking like a dead face out
of the sky. Then, the night, with the moon and the stars, turned pale
and died, and for a little while it seemed as if Creation were
delivered over to Death's dominion.
But, the glorious sun, rising, seemed to strike those words, that
burden of the night, straight and warm to his heart in its long
bright rays. And looking along them, with reverently shaded eyes,
a bridge of light appeared to span the air between him and the sun,
while the river sparkled under it.
The strong tide, so swift, so deep, and certain, was like a congenial
friend, in the morning stillness. He walked by the stream, far from
the houses, and in the light and warmth of the sun fell asleep on the
bank. When he awoke and was afoot again, he lingered there yet a
little longer, watching an eddy that turned and turned purposeless,
until the stream absorbed it, and carried it on to the sea.--"Like me."
A trading-boat, with a sail of the softened colour of a dead leaf,
then glided into his view, floated by him, and died away. As its
silent track in the water disappeared, the prayer that had broken up
out of his heart for a merciful consideration of all his poor
blindnesses and errors, ended in the words, "I am the resurrection
and the life."
Mr. Lorry was already out when he got back, and it was easy to
surmise where the good old man was gone. Sydney Carton drank nothing
but a little coffee, ate some bread, and, having washed and changed
to refresh himself, went out to the place of trial.
The court was all astir and a-buzz, when the black sheep--whom many
fell away from in dread--pressed him into an obscure corner among the
crowd. Mr. Lorry was there, and Doctor Manette was there. She was
there, sitting beside her father.
When her husband was brought in, she turned a look upon him, so
sustaining, so encouraging, so full of admiring love and pitying
tenderness, yet so courageous for his sake, that it called the
healthy blood into his face, brightened his glance, and animated his
heart. If there had been any eyes to notice the influence of her
look, on Sydney Carton, it would have been seen to be the same
Before that unjust Tribunal, there was little or no order of
procedure, ensuring to any accused person any reasonable hearing.
There could have been no such Revolution, if all laws, forms, and
ceremonies, had not first been so monstrously abused, that the
suicidal vengeance of the Revolution was to scatter them all to the
Every eye was turned to the jury. The same determined patriots and
good republicans as yesterday and the day before, and to-morrow and
the day after. Eager and prominent among them, one man with a
craving face, and his fingers perpetually hovering about his lips,
whose appearance gave great satisfaction to the spectators. A life-
thirsting, cannibal-looking, bloody-minded juryman, the Jacques Three
of St. Antoine. The whole jury, as a jury of dogs empannelled to try
Every eye then turned to the five judges and the public prosecutor.
No favourable leaning in that quarter to-day. A fell, uncompromising,
murderous business-meaning there. Every eye then sought some other
eye in the crowd, and gleamed at it approvingly; and heads nodded at
one another, before bending forward with a strained attention.
Charles Evremonde, called Darnay. Released yesterday. Reaccused and
retaken yesterday. Indictment delivered to him last night. Suspected
and Denounced enemy of the Republic, Aristocrat, one of a family of
tyrants, one of a race proscribed, for that they had used their
abolished privileges to the infamous oppression of the people.
Charles Evremonde, called Darnay, in right of such proscription,
absolutely Dead in Law.
To this effect, in as few or fewer words, the Public Prosecutor.
The President asked, was the Accused openly denounced or secretly?
"Three voices. Ernest Defarge, wine-vendor of St. Antoine."
"Therese Defarge, his wife."
"Alexandre Manette, physician."
A great uproar took place in the court, and in the midst of it,
Doctor Manette was seen, pale and trembling, standing where he had
"President, I indignantly protest to you that this is a forgery and a
fraud. You know the accused to be the husband of my daughter. My
daughter, and those dear to her, are far dearer to me than my life.
Who and where is the false conspirator who says that I denounce the
husband of my child!"
"Citizen Manette, be tranquil. To fail in submission to the
authority of the Tribunal would be to put yourself out of Law.
As to what is dearer to you than life, nothing can be so dear to a
good citizen as the Republic."
Loud acclamations hailed this rebuke. The President rang his bell,
and with warmth resumed.
"If the Republic should demand of you the sacrifice of your child
herself, you would have no duty but to sacrifice her. Listen to what
is to follow. In the meanwhile, be silent!"
Frantic acclamations were again raised. Doctor Manette sat down,
with his eyes looking around, and his lips trembling; his daughter
drew closer to him. The craving man on the jury rubbed his hands
together, and restored the usual hand to his mouth.
Defarge was produced, when the court was quiet enough to admit of his
being heard, and rapidly expounded the story of the imprisonment, and
of his having been a mere boy in the Doctor's service, and of the
release, and of the state of the prisoner when released and delivered
to him. This short examination followed, for the court was quick
with its work.
"You did good service at the taking of the Bastille, citizen?"
"I believe so."
Here, an excited woman screeched from the crowd: "You were one of the
best patriots there. Why not say so? You were a cannoneer that day
there, and you were among the first to enter the accursed fortress
when it fell. Patriots, I speak the truth!"
It was The Vengeance who, amidst the warm commendations of the
audience, thus assisted the proceedings. The President rang his
bell; but, The Vengeance, warming with encouragement, shrieked,
"I defy that bell!" wherein she was likewise much commended.
"Inform the Tribunal of what you did that day within the Bastille,
"I knew," said Defarge, looking down at his wife, who stood at the
bottom of the steps on which he was raised, looking steadily up at
him; "I knew that this prisoner, of whom I speak, had been confined
in a cell known as One Hundred and Five, North Tower. I knew it from
himself. He knew himself by no other name than One Hundred and Five,
North Tower, when he made shoes under my care. As I serve my gun
that day, I resolve, when the place shall fall, to examine that cell.
It falls. I mount to the cell, with a fellow-citizen who is one of
the Jury, directed by a gaoler. I examine it, very closely. In a
hole in the chimney, where a stone has been worked out and replaced,
I find a written paper. This is that written paper. I have made it
my business to examine some specimens of the writing of Doctor
Manette. This is the writing of Doctor Manette. I confide this
paper, in the writing of Doctor Manette, to the hands of the President."
"Let it be read."
In a dead silence and stillness--the prisoner under trial looking
lovingly at his wife, his wife only looking from him to look with
solicitude at her father, Doctor Manette keeping his eyes fixed on
the reader, Madame Defarge never taking hers from the prisoner,
Defarge never taking his from his feasting wife, and all the other
eyes there intent upon the Doctor, who saw none of them--the paper
was read, as follows.
The Substance of the Shadow
"I, Alexandre Manette, unfortunate physician, native of Beauvais,
and afterwards resident in Paris, write this melancholy paper in my
doleful cell in the Bastille, during the last month of the year,
1767. I write it at stolen intervals, under every difficulty.
I design to secrete it in the wall of the chimney, where I have
slowly and laboriously made a place of concealment for it. Some
pitying hand may find it there, when I and my sorrows are dust.
"These words are formed by the rusty iron point with which I write
with difficulty in scrapings of soot and charcoal from the chimney,
mixed with blood, in the last month of the tenth year of my captivity.
Hope has quite departed from my breast. I know from terrible
warnings I have noted in myself that my reason will not long remain
unimpaired, but I solemnly declare that I am at this time in the
possession of my right mind--that my memory is exact and
circumstantial--and that I write the truth as I shall answer for
these my last recorded words, whether they be ever read by men or not,
at the Eternal Judgment-seat.
"One cloudy moonlight night, in the third week of December (I think
the twenty-second of the month) in the year 1757, I was walking on a
retired part of the quay by the Seine for the refreshment of the
frosty air, at an hour's distance from my place of residence in the
Street of the School of Medicine, when a carriage came along behind
me, driven very fast. As I stood aside to let that carriage pass,
apprehensive that it might otherwise run me down, a head was put out
at the window, and a voice called to the driver to stop.
"The carriage stopped as soon as the driver could rein in his horses,
and the same voice called to me by my name. I answered. The carriage
was then so far in advance of me that two gentlemen had time to open
the door and alight before I came up with it.
I observed that they were both wrapped in cloaks, and appeared to
conceal themselves. As they stood side by side near the carriage
door, I also observed that they both looked of about my own age, or
rather younger, and that they were greatly alike, in stature, manner,
voice, and (as far as I could see) face too.
"`You are Doctor Manette?' said one.
"`Doctor Manette, formerly of Beauvais,' said the other; `the young
physician, originally an expert surgeon, who within the last year or
two has made a rising reputation in Paris?'
"`Gentlemen,' I returned, `I am that Doctor Manette of whom you speak
"`We have been to your residence,' said the first, `and not being so
fortunate as to find you there, and being informed that you were
probably walking in this direction, we followed, in the hope of
overtaking you. Will you please to enter the carriage?'
"The manner of both was imperious, and they both moved, as these
words were spoken, so as to place me between themselves and the
carriage door. They were armed. I was not.
"`Gentlemen,' said I, `pardon me; but I usually inquire who does me
the honour to seek my assistance, and what is the nature of the case
to which I am summoned.'
"The reply to this was made by him who had spoken second.
'Doctor, your clients are people of condition. As to the nature of
the case, our confidence in your skill assures us that you will
ascertain it for yourself better than we can describe it. Enough.
Will you please to enter the carriage?'
"I could do nothing but comply, and I entered it in silence. They
both entered after me--the last springing in, after putting up the
steps. The carriage turned about, and drove on at its former speed.
"I repeat this conversation exactly as it occurred. I have no doubt
that it is, word for word, the same. I describe everything exactly
as it took place, constraining my mind not to wander from the task.
Where I make the broken marks that follow here, I leave off for the
time, and put my paper in its hiding-place.
* * * *
"The carriage left the streets behind, passed the North Barrier, and
emerged upon the country road. At two-thirds of a league from the
Barrier--I did not estimate the distance at that time, but afterwards
when I traversed it--it struck out of the main avenue, and presently
stopped at a solitary house, We all three alighted, and walked, by a
damp soft footpath in a garden where a neglected fountain had
overflowed, to the door of the house. It was not opened immediately,
in answer to the ringing of the bell, and one of my two conductors
struck the man who opened it, with his heavy riding glove, across the
"There was nothing in this action to attract my particular attention,
for I had seen common people struck more commonly than dogs.
But, the other of the two, being angry likewise, struck the man in
like manner with his arm; the look and bearing of the brothers were
then so exactly alike, that I then first perceived them to be twin
"From the time of our alighting at the outer gate (which we found
locked, and which one of the brothers had opened to admit us, and had
relocked), I had heard cries proceeding from an upper chamber. I was
conducted to this chamber straight, the cries growing louder as we
ascended the stairs, and I found a patient in a high fever of the brain,
lying on a bed.
"The patient was a woman of great beauty, and young; assuredly not
much past twenty. Her hair was torn and ragged, and her arms were
bound to her sides with sashes and handkerchiefs. I noticed that
these bonds were all portions of a gentleman's dress. On one of
them, which was a fringed scarf for a dress of ceremony, I saw the
armorial bearings of a Noble, and the letter E.
"I saw this, within the first minute of my contemplation of the
patient; for, in her restless strivings she had turned over on her
face on the edge of the bed, had drawn the end of the scarf into her
mouth, and was in danger of suffocation. My first act was to put out
my hand to relieve her breathing; and in moving the scarf aside, the
embroidery in the corner caught my sight.
"I turned her gently over, placed my hands upon her breast to calm
her and keep her down, and looked into her face. Her eyes were
dilated and wild, and she constantly uttered piercing shrieks, and
repeated the words, `My husband, my father, and my brother!' and
then counted up to twelve, and said, `Hush!' For an instant, and no
more, she would pause to listen, and then the piercing shrieks would
begin again, and she would repeat the cry, `My husband, my father,
and my brother!' and would count up to twelve, and say, `Hush!' There
was no variation in the order, or the manner. There was no cessation,
but the regular moment's pause, in the utterance of these sounds.
"`How long,' I asked, `has this lasted?'
"To distinguish the brothers, I will call them the elder and the
younger; by the elder, I mean him who exercised the most authority.
It was the elder who replied, `Since about this hour last night.'
"`She has a husband, a father, and a brother?'
"`I do not address her brother?'
"He answered with great contempt, `No.'
"`She has some recent association with the number twelve?'
"The younger brother impatiently rejoined, `With twelve o'clock?'
"`See, gentlemen,' said I, still keeping my hands upon her breast,
'how useless I am, as you have brought me! If I had known what I was
coming to see, I could have come provided. As it is, time must be
lost. There are no medicines to be obtained in this lonely place.'
"The elder brother looked to the younger, who said haughtily, `There
is a case of medicines here;' and brought it from a closet, and put
it on the table.
* * * *
"I opened some of the bottles, smelt them, and put the stoppers to my
lips. If I had wanted to use anything save narcotic medicines that
were poisons in themselves, I would not have administered any of those.
"`Do you doubt them?' asked the younger brother.
"`You see, monsieur, I am going to use them,' I replied, and said no
"I made the patient swallow, with great difficulty, and after many
efforts, the dose that I desired to give. As I intended to repeat it
after a while, and as it was necessary to watch its influence, I then
sat down by the side of the bed. There was a timid and suppressed
woman in attendance (wife of the man down-stairs), who had retreated
into a corner. The house was damp and decayed, indifferently
furnished--evidently, recently occupied and temporarily used.
Some thick old hangings had been nailed up before the windows, to
deaden the sound of the shrieks. They continued to be uttered in
their regular succession, with the cry, `My husband, my father, and
my brother!' the counting up to twelve, and `Hush!' The frenzy was
so violent, that I had not unfastened the bandages restraining the
arms; but, I had looked to them, to see that they were not painful.
The only spark of encouragement in the case, was, that my hand upon
the sufferer's breast had this much soothing influence, that for
minutes at a time it tranquillised the figure. It had no effect upon
the cries; no pendulum could be more regular.
"For the reason that my hand had this effect (I assume), I had sat by
the side of the bed for half an hour, with the two brothers looking
on, before the elder said:
"`There is another patient.'
"I was startled, and asked, `Is it a pressing case?'
"`You had better see,' he carelessly answered; and took up a light.
* * * *
"The other patient lay in a back room across a second staircase,
which was a species of loft over a stable. There was a low plastered
ceiling to a part of it; the rest was open, to the ridge of the tiled
roof, and there were beams across. Hay and straw were stored in that
portion of the place, fagots for firing, and a heap of apples in sand.
I had to pass through that part, to get at the other. My memory is
circumstantial and unshaken. I try it with these details, and I see
them all, in this my cell in the Bastille, near the close of the
tenth year of my captivity, as I saw them all that night.
"On some hay on the ground, with a cushion thrown under his head, lay
a handsome peasant boy--a boy of not more than seventeen at the most.
He lay on his back, with his teeth set, his right hand clenched on
his breast, and his glaring eyes looking straight upward. I could
not see where his wound was, as I kneeled on one knee over him;
but, I could see that he was dying of a wound from a sharp point.
"`I am a doctor, my poor fellow,' said I. `Let me examine it.'
"`I do not want it examined,' he answered; `let it be.'
"It was under his hand, and I soothed him to let me move his hand
away. The wound was a sword-thrust, received from twenty to twenty-
four hours before, but no skill could have saved him if it had been
looked to without delay. He was then dying fast. As I turned my
eyes to the elder brother, I saw him looking down at this handsome
boy whose life was ebbing out, as if he were a wounded bird, or hare,
or rabbit; not at all as if he were a fellow-creature.
"`How has this been done, monsieur?' said I.
"`A crazed young common dog! A serf! Forced my brother to draw upon him,
and has fallen by my brother's sword--like a gentleman.'
"There was no touch of pity, sorrow, or kindred humanity, in this
answer. The speaker seemed to acknowledge that it was inconvenient
to have that different order of creature dying there, and that it
would have been better if he had died in the usual obscure routine of
his vermin kind. He was quite incapable of any compassionate feeling
about the boy, or about his fate.
"The boy's eyes had slowly moved to him as he had spoken, and they
now slowly moved to me.
"`Doctor, they are very proud, these Nobles; but we common dogs are
proud too, sometimes. They plunder us, outrage us, beat us, kill us;
but we have a little pride left, sometimes. She--have you seen her, Doctor?'
"The shrieks and the cries were audible there, though subdued by the
distance. He referred to them, as if she were lying in our presence.
"I said, `I have seen her.'
"`She is my sister, Doctor. They have had their shameful rights,
these Nobles, in the modesty and virtue of our sisters, many years,
but we have had good girls among us. I know it, and have heard my
father say so. She was a good girl. She was betrothed to a good
young man, too: a tenant of his. We were all tenants of his--that man's
who stands there. The other is his brother, the worst of a bad race.'
"It was with the greatest difficulty that the boy gathered bodily
force to speak; but, his spirit spoke with a dreadful emphasis.
"`We were so robbed by that man who stands there, as all we common
dogs are by those superior Beings--taxed by him without mercy, obliged
to work for him without pay, obliged to grind our corn at his mill,
obliged to feed scores of his tame birds on our wretched crops, and
forbidden for our lives to keep a single tame bird of our own,
pillaged and plundered to that degree that when we chanced to have a
bit of meat, we ate it in fear, with the door barred and the shutters
closed, that his people should not see it and take it from us--I say,
we were so robbed, and hunted, and were made so poor, that our father
told us it was a dreadful thing to bring a child into the world, and
that what we should most pray for, was, that our women might be barren
and our miserable race die out!'
"I had never before seen the sense of being oppressed, bursting forth
like a fire. I had supposed that it must be latent in the people
somewhere; but, I had never seen it break out, until I saw it in the
"`Nevertheless, Doctor, my sister married. He was ailing at that
time, poor fellow, and she married her lover, that she might tend and
comfort him in our cottage--our dog-hut, as that man would call it.
She had not been married many weeks, when that man's brother saw her
and admired her, and asked that man to lend her to him--for what are
husbands among us! He was willing enough, but my sister was good and
virtuous, and hated his brother with a hatred as strong as mine.
What did the two then, to persuade her husband to use his influence
with her, to make her willing?'
"The boy's eyes, which had been fixed on mine, slowly turned to the
looker-on, and I saw in the two faces that all he said was true.
The two opposing kinds of pride confronting one another, I can see,
even in this Bastille; the gentleman's, all negligent indifference;
the peasants, all trodden-down sentiment, and passionate revenge.
"`You know, Doctor, that it is among the Rights of these Nobles to
harness us common dogs to carts, and drive us. They so harnessed him
and drove him. You know that it is among their Rights to keep us in
their grounds all night, quieting the frogs, in order that their
noble sleep may not be disturbed. They kept him out in the unwholesome
mists at night, and ordered him back into his harness in the day.
But he was not persuaded. No! Taken out of harness one day at noon,
to feed--if he could find food--he sobbed twelve times, once for
every stroke of the bell, and died on her bosom.'
"Nothing human could have held life in the boy but his determination
to tell all his wrong. He forced back the gathering shadows of death,
as he forced his clenched right hand to remain clenched, and to cover
"`Then, with that man's permission and even with his aid, his brother
took her away; in spite of what I know she must have told his
brother--and what that is, will not be long unknown to you, Doctor,
if it is now--his brother took her away--for his pleasure and
diversion, for a little while. I saw her pass me on the road.
When I took the tidings home, our father's heart burst; he never
spoke one of the words that filled it. I took my young sister (for
I have another) to a place beyond the reach of this man, and where,
at least, she will never be HIS vassal. Then, I tracked the
brother here, and last night climbed in--a common dog, but sword in
hand.--Where is the loft window? It was somewhere here?'
"The room was darkening to his sight; the world was narrowing around
him. I glanced about me, and saw that the hay and straw were
trampled over the floor, as if there had been a struggle.
"`She heard me, and ran in. I told her not to come near us till he
was dead. He came in and first tossed me some pieces of money; then
struck at me with a whip. But I, though a common dog, so struck at
him as to make him draw. Let him break into as many pieces as he
will, the sword that he stained with my common blood; he drew to
defend himself--thrust at me with all his skill for his life.'
"My glance had fallen, but a few moments before, on the fragments of
a broken sword, lying among the hay. That weapon was a gentleman's.
In another place, lay an old sword that seemed to have been a soldier's.
"`Now, lift me up, Doctor; lift me up. Where is he?'
"`He is not here,' I said, supporting the boy, and thinking that he
referred to the brother.
"`He! Proud as these nobles are, he is afraid to see me. Where is
the man who was here? turn my face to him.'
"I did so, raising the boy's head against my knee. But, invested for
the moment with extraordinary power, he raised himself completely:
obliging me to rise too, or I could not have still supported him.
"`Marquis,' said the boy, turned to him with his eyes opened wide,
and his right hand raised, `in the days when all these things are to
be answered for, I summon you and yours, to the last of your bad race,
to answer for them. I mark this cross of blood upon you, as a sign
that I do it. In the days when all these things are to be answered
for, I summon your brother, the worst of the bad race, to answer for
them separately. I mark this cross of blood upon him, as a sign that
I do it.'
"Twice, he put his hand to the wound in his breast, and with his
forefinger drew a cross in the air. He stood for an instant with the
finger yet raised, and as it dropped, he dropped with it, and I laid
him down dead.
* * * *
"When I returned to the bedside of the young woman, I found her
raving in precisely the same order of continuity. I knew that this
might last for many hours, and that it would probably end in the
silence of the grave.
"I repeated the medicines I had given her, and I sat at the side of
the bed until the night was far advanced. She never abated the
piercing quality of her shrieks, never stumbled in the distinctness
or the order of her words. They were always `My husband, my father,
and my brother! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,
ten, eleven, twelve. Hush!'
"This lasted twenty-six hours from the time when I first saw her. I
had come and gone twice, and was again sitting by her, when she began
to falter. I did what little could be done to assist that opportunity,
and by-and-bye she sank into a lethargy, and lay like the dead.
"It was as if the wind and rain had lulled at last, after a long and
fearful storm. I released her arms, and called the woman to assist
me to compose her figure and the dress she had to. It was then that
I knew her condition to be that of one in whom the first expectations
of being a mother have arisen; and it was then that I lost the little
hope I had had of her.
"`Is she dead?' asked the Marquis, whom I will still describe as the
elder brother, coming booted into the room from his horse.
"`Not dead,' said I; `but like to die.'
"`What strength there is in these common bodies!' he said, looking
down at her with some curiosity.
"`There is prodigious strength,' I answered him, `in sorrow and despair.'
"He first laughed at my words, and then frowned at them. He moved a
chair with his foot near to mine, ordered the woman away, and said in
a subdued voice,
"`Doctor, finding my brother in this difficulty with these hinds,
I recommended that your aid should be invited. Your reputation is
high, and, as a young man with your fortune to make, you are probably
mindful of your interest. The things that you see here, are things
to be seen, and not spoken of.'
"I listened to the patient's breathing, and avoided answering.
"`Do you honour me with your attention, Doctor?'
"`Monsieur,' said I, `in my profession, the communications of
patients are always received in confidence.' I was guarded in my
answer, for I was troubled in my mind with what I had heard and seen.
"Her breathing was so difficult to trace, that I carefully tried the
pulse and the heart. There was life, and no more. Looking round as
I resumed my seat, I found both the brothers intent upon me.
* * * *
"I write with so much difficulty, the cold is so severe, I am so
fearful of being detected and consigned to an underground cell and
total darkness, that I must abridge this narrative. There is no
confusion or failure in my memory; it can recall, and could detail,
every word that was ever spoken between me and those brothers.
"She lingered for a week. Towards the last, I could understand some
few syllables that she said to me, by placing my ear close to her lips.
She asked me where she was, and I told her; who I was, and I told her.
It was in vain that I asked her for her family name. She faintly
shook her head upon the pillow, and kept her secret, as the boy had done.
"I had no opportunity of asking her any question, until I had told
the brothers she was sinking fast, and could not live another day.
Until then, though no one was ever presented to her consciousness
save the woman and myself, one or other of them had always jealously
sat behind the curtain at the head of the bed when I was there.
But when it came to that, they seemed careless what communication I
might hold with her; as if--the thought passed through my mind--I
were dying too.
"I always observed that their pride bitterly resented the younger
brother's (as I call him) having crossed swords with a peasant, and
that peasant a boy. The only consideration that appeared to affect
the mind of either of them was the consideration that this was highly
degrading to the family, and was ridiculous. As often as I caught
the younger brother's eyes, their expression reminded me that he
disliked me deeply, for knowing what I knew from the boy. He was
smoother and more polite to me than the elder; but I saw this.
I also saw that I was an incumbrance in the mind of the elder, too.