WHILE SYDNEY CARTON and the Sheep of the prisons were in theadjoining dark room, speaking so low that not a sound was heard, Mr.Lorry looked at Jerry in considerable doubt and mistrust. Thathonest tradesman's manner of receiving the look, did not inspireconfidence; he changed the leg on which he rested, as often as if hehad fifty of those limbs, and were trying them all; he examined hisfinger-nails with a very questionable closeness of attention; andwhenever Mr. Lorry's eye caught his, he was taken with that peculiarkind of short cough requiring the hollow of a hand before it, which isseldom, if ever, known to be an infirmity attendant on perfectopenness of character.
"Jerry," said Mr. Lorry. "Come here."
Mr. Cruncher came forward sideways, with one of his shoulders inadvance of him.
"What have you been, besides a messenger?"
After some cogitation, accompanied with an intent look at hispatron, Mr. Cruncher conceived the luminous idea of replying,"Agricultooral character."
"My mind misgives me much," said Mr. Lorry, angrily shaking aforefinger at him, "that you have used the respectable and great houseof Tellson's as a blind, and that you have had an unlawfuloccupation of an infamous description. If you have, don't expect me tobefriend you when you get back to England. If you have, don't expectme to keep your secret. Tellson's shall not be imposed upon."
"I hope, sir," pleaded the abashed Mr. Cruncher, "that a gentlemanlike yourself wot I've had the honour of odd jobbing till I'm greyat it, would think twice about harming of me, even if it wos so- Idon't say it is, but even if it wos. And which it is to be took intoaccount 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 thepresent hour, a picking up their guineas where a honest tradesmandon't pick up his fardens- fardens! no, nor yet his half fardens- halffardens! no, nor yet his quarter- a banking away like smoke atTellson's, and a cocking their medical eyes at that tradesman on thesly, a going in and going out to their own carriages- ah! equally likesmoke, if not more so. Well, that 'ud be imposing, too, onTellson's. For you cannot sarse the goose and not the gander. Andhere's Mrs. Cruncher, or leastways wos in the Old England times, andwould be to-morrow, if cause given, a floppin' again the business tothat degree as is ruinating-stark ruinating! Whereas them medicaldoctors' wives don't flop- catch 'em at it! Or, if they flop, theirfloppings goes in favour of more patients, and how can you rightlyhave one without t'other? Then, wot with undertakers, and wot withparish 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 ifit 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 beout of the line, if he could see his way but, being once in- even ifit wos so."
"Ugh!" cried Mr. Lorry, rather relenting, nevertheless. "I amshocked 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. Cruncher, as if nothing werefurther from his thoughts or practice- "which I don't say it is- wot Iwould humbly offer to you, sir, would be this. Upon that therestool, at that there Bar, sets that there boy of mine, brought upand growed up to be a man, wot will errand you, message you,general-light-job you, till your heels is where your head is, ifsuch should be your wishes. If it wos so, which I still don't say itis (for I will not prevaricate to you, sir), let that there boy keephis father's place, and take care of his mother; don't blow uponthat boy's father- do not do it, sir- and let that father go intothe line of the reg'lar diggin', and make amends for what he wouldhave undug- if it wos so- by diggin' of 'em in with a will, and withconwictions respectin' the futur' keepin' of 'em safe. That, Mr.Lorry," said Mr. Cruncher, wiping his forehead with his arm, as anannouncement that he had arrived at the peroration of his discourse,"is wot I would respectfully offer to you, sir. A man don't see allthis here a goin' on dreadful round him, in the way of Subjectswithout heads, dear me, plentiful enough fur to bring the price downto porterage and hardly that, without havin' his serious thoughts ofthings. And these here would be mine, if it wos so, entreatin' ofyou fur to bear in mind that wot I said just now, I up and said in thegood cause when I might have kep' it back."
"That at least is true," said Mr. Lorry. "Say no more now. It may bethat I shall yet stand your friend, if you deserve it, and repent inaction- not in words. I want no more words."
Mr. Cruncher knuckled his forehead, as Sydney Carton and the spyreturned from the dark room. "Adieu, Mr. Barsad," said the former; ourarrangement thus made, you have nothing to fear from me."
He sat down in a chair on the hearth, over against Mr. Lorry. Whenthey were alone, Mr. Lorry asked him what he had done?
"Not much. If it should go ill with the prisoner, I have ensuredaccess to him once."
Mr. Lorry's countenance fell.
"It is all I could do," said Carton. "To propose too much, wouldbe 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 wasobviously the weakness of the position. There is no help for it."
"But access to him," said Mr. Lorry, "if it should go ill before theTribunal, will not save him."
"I never said it would."
Mr. Lorry's eyes gradually sought the fire; his sympathy with hisdarling, and the heavy disappointment of his second arrest,gradually weakened them; he was an old man now, overborne with anxietyof late, and his tears fell.
"You are a good man and a true friend," said Carton, in an alteredvoice. "Forgive me if I notice that you are affected. I could notsee my father weep, and sit by, careless. And I could not respect yoursorrow more, if you were my father. You are free from that misfortune,however."
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 histouch, that Mr. Lorry, who had never seen the better side of him,was wholly unprepared for. He gave him his hand, and Carton gentlypressed it.
"To return to to poor Darnay," said Carton. "Don't tell Her ofthis interview, or this arrangement. It would not enable Her to goto see him. She might think it was contrived, in case of the worse, toconvey to him the means of anticipating the sentence."
Mr. Lorry had not thought of that, and he looked quickly at Cartonto see if it were in his mind. It seemed to be; he returned thelook, and evidently understood it.
"She might think a thousand things," Carton said, "and any of themwould only add to her trouble. Don't speak of me to her. As I saidto you when I first came, I had better not see her. I can put myhand out, to do any little helpful work for her that my hand canfind to do, without that. You are going to her, I hope? She must bevery desolate to-night."
"I am going now, directly."
"I am glad of that. She has such a strong attachment to you andreliance 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. Itattracted Mr. Lorry's eyes to Carton's face, which was turned to thefire. A light, or a shade (the old gentleman could not have saidwhich), passed from it as swiftly as a change will sweep over ahill-side on a wild bright day, and he lifted his foot to put back oneof the little flaming logs, which was tumbling forward. He wore thewhite riding-coat and top-boots, then in vogue, and the light of thefire touching their light surfaces made him look very pale, with hislong brown hair, all untrimmed, hanging loose about him. Hisindifference to fire was sufficiently remarkable to elicit a word ofremonstrance from Mr. Lorry; his boot was still upon the hot embers ofthe 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 ofthe wasted air which clouded the naturally handsome features, andhaving the expression of prisoners' faces fresh in his mind, he wasstrongly reminded of that expression.
"And your duties here have drawn to an end, sir?" said Carton,turning to him.
"Yes. As I was telling you last night when ucie came in sounexpectedly, I have at length done all that I can do here. I hoped tohave left them in perfect safety, and then to have quitted Paris. Ihave 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 constantlyoccupied; 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 willmiss 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 herchild?"
"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 orrespect, of no human creature; I have won myself a tender place inno regard; I have done nothing good or serviceable to be rememberedby!' your seventy-eight years would be seventy-eight heavy curses;would they not?"
"You say truly, Mr. Carton; I think they would be."
Sydney turned his eyes again upon the fire, and, after a silenceof a few moments, said:
"I should like to ask you:- Does your childhood seem far off? Do thedays 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 drawcloser and closer to the end, I travel in the circle, nearer andnearer to the beginning. It seems to be one of the kind smoothings andpreparings of the way. My heart is touched now, by many remembrancesthat had long fallen asleep, of my pretty young mother (and I soold!), and by many associations of the days when what we call theWorld was not so real with me, and my faults were not confirmed inme."
"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 onwith his outer coat; "But you," said Mr. Lorry, reverting to thetheme, "you are young."
"Yes," said Carton. "I am not old, but my young way was never theway 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 restlesshabits. If I should prowl about the streets a long time, don't beuneasy; I shall reappear in the morning. You go to the Courtto-morrow?"
"I shall be there, but only as one of the crowd. My Spy will finda place for me. Take my arm, sir."
Mr. Lorry did so, and they went down-stairs and out in thestreets. A few minutes brought them to Mr. Lorry's destination. Cartonleft him there; but lingered at a little distance, and turned backto the gate again when it was shut, and touched it. He had heard ofher going to the prison every day. "She came out here," he said,looking about him, "turned this way, must have trod on these stonesoften. Let me follow in her steps."
It was ten o'clock at night when he stood before the prison of LaForce, 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 shallmount to a hundred soon. Samson and his men complain sometimes, ofbeing exhausted. Ha, ha, ha! He is so droll, that Samson. Such aBarber!"
"Do you often go to see him--"
"Shave? Always. Every day. What a barber! You have seen him atwork?"
"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, toexplain how he timed the executioner, Carton was so sensible of arising desire to strike the life out of him, that he turned away.
"But you are not English," said the wood-sawyer, "though you wearEnglish dress?"
"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, callingafter him. "And take a pipe with you!"
Sydney had not gone far out of sight, when he stopped in themiddle of the street under a glimmering lamp, and wrote with hispencil on a scrap of paper. Then, traversing with the decided stepof one who remembered the way well, several dark and dirty streets-much dirtier than usual, for the best public thoroughfares remaineduncleansed 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 hiscounter, he laid the scrap of paper before him. "Whew!" the chemistwhistled 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 theconsequences of mixing them?"
Certain small packets were made and given to him. He put them, oneby one, in the breast of his inner coat, counted out the money forthem, and deliberately left the shop. "There is nothing more to do,"said he, glancing upward at the moon, "until to-morrow. I can'tsleep."
It was not a reckless manner, the manner in which he said thesewords aloud under the fast-sailing clouds, nor was it moreexpressive of negligence than defiance. It was the settled manner of atired man, who had wandered and struggled and got lost, but who atlength struck into his road and saw its end.
Long ago, when he had been famous among his earliest competitorsas a youth of great promise, he had his father to the grave. Hismother had died, years before. These solemn words, which had been readat his father's grave, arose in his mind as he went down the darkstreets, among the heavy shadows, with the moon and the clouds sailingon high above him. "I am the resurrection and the life, saith theLord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die."
In a city dominated by the axe, alone at night, with naturalsorrow rising in him for the sixty-three who had been that day putto death, and for to-morrow's victims then awaiting their doom inthe prisons, and still of to-morrow's and to-morrow's, the chain ofassociation that brought the words home, like a rusty old ship'sanchor from the deep, might have been easily found. He did not seekit, but repeated them and went on.
With a solemn interest in the lighted windows where the peoplewere going to rest, forgetful through a few calm hours of thehorrors surrounding them; in the towers of the churches, where noprayers were said, for the popular revulsion had even travelled thatlength 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 aboundinggaols; and in the streets along which the sixties rolled to a deathwhich had become so common and material, that no sorrowful story ofa haunting Spirit ever arose among the people out of all the workingof the Guillotine; with a solemn interest in the whole life anddeath 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 besuspected, and gentility hid its head in red nightcaps, and put onheavy shoes, and trudged. But, the theatres were all well filled,and the people poured cheerfully out as he passed, and went chattinghome. At one of the theatre doors, there was a little girl with amother, looking for a way across the street through the mud. Hecarried the child over, and before the timid arm was loosed from hisneck asked her for a kiss.
"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he thatbelieveth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoeverliveth and believeth in me, shall never die."
Now, that the streets were quiet, and the night wore on, the wordswere in the echoes of his feet, and were in the air. Perfectly calmand 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 tothe water as it splashed the river-walls of the Island of Paris, wherethe picturesque confusion of houses and cathedral shone bright inthe light of the moon, the day came coldly, looking like a dead faceout of the sky. Then, the night, with the moon and the stars, turnedpale and died, and for a little while it seemed as if Creation weredelivered over to Death's dominion.
But, the glorious sun, rising, seemed to strike those words, thatburden of the night, straight and warm to his heart in its long brightrays. And looking along them, with reverently shaded eyes, a bridge oflight appeared to span the air between him and the sun, while theriver sparkled under it.
The strong tide, so swift, so deep, and certain, was like acongenial friend, in the morning stillness He walked by the stream,far from the houses, and in the light and warmth of the sun fellasleep on the bank. When he awoke and was afoot again, he lingeredthere yet a little longer, watching an eddy that turned and turnedpurposeless, until the stream absorbed it, and carried it on to thesea.- "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 itssilent track in the water disappeared, the prayer that had broken upout of his heart for a merciful consideration of all his poorblindnesses and errors, ended in the words, "I am the resurrection andthe life."
Mr. Lorry was already out when he got back, and it was easy tosurmise where the good old man was gone. Sydney Carton drank nothingbut a little coffee, ate some bread, and, having washed and changed torefresh himself, went out to the place of trial.
The court was all astir and a-buzz, when the black sheep- whommany fell away from in dread- pressed him into an obscure corner amongthe crowd. Mr. Lorry was there, and Doctor Manette was there. Shewas there, sitting beside her father.
When her husband was brought in, she turned a look upon him, sosustaining, so encouraging, so full of admiring love and pityingtenderness, yet so courageous for his sake, that it called the healthyblood into his face, brightened his glance, and animated his heart. Ifthere had been any eyes to notice the influence of her look, on SydneyCarton, it would have been seen to be the same influence exactly.
Before that unjust Tribunal, there was little or no order ofprocedure, ensuring to any accused person any reasonable hearing.There could have been no such Revolution, if all laws, forms, andceremonies, had not first been so monstrously abused, that thesuicidal vengeance of the Revolution was to scatter them all to thewinds.
Every eye was turned to the jury. The same determined patriots andgood republicans as yesterday and the day before, and to-morrow andthe day after. Eager and prominent among them, one man with acraving face, and his fingers perpetually hovering about his lips,whose appearance gave great satisfaction to the spectators. Alife-thirsting, cannibal-looking, bloody-minded juryman, the JacquesThree of St. Antoine. The whole jury, as a jury of dogs empanelledto try the deer.
Every eye then turned to the five judges and the publicprosecutor. No favourable leaning in that quarter to-day. A fell,uncompromising, murderous business-meaning there. Every eye thensought some other eye in the crowd, and gleamed at it approvingly; andheads nodded at one another, before bending forward with a strainedattention.
Charles Evremonde, called Darnay. Released yesterday. Reaccusedand retaken yesterday. Indictment delivered to him last night.Suspected and Denounced enemy of the Republic, Aristocrat, one of afamily of tyrants, one of a race proscribed, for that they had usedtheir 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."
"Good. "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 hadbeen seated.
"President, I indignantly protest to you that this is a forgeryand a fraud. You know the accused to be the husband of my daughter. Mydaughter, 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 thehusband of my child!"
"Citizen Manette, be tranquil. To fail in submission to theauthority of the Tribunal would be to put yourself out of Law. As towhat is dearer to you than life, nothing can be so dear to a goodcitizen 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 childherself, you would have no duty but to sacrifice her. Listen to whatis 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 daughterdrew closer to him. The craving man on the jury rubbed his handstogether, and restored the usual hand to his mouth.
Defarge was produced, when the court was quiet enough to admit ofhis being heard, and rapidly expounded the story of theimprisonment, and of his having been a mere boy in the Doctor'sservice, and of the release, and of the state of the prisoner whenreleased and delivered to him. This short examination followed, forthe 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 ofthe best patriots there. Why not say so? You were a cannonier that daythere, and you were among the first to enter the accursed fortresswhen it fell. Patriots, I speak the truth!"
It was The Vengeance who, amidst the warm commendations of theaudience, thus assisted the proceedings. The President rang hisbell; but, The Vengeance, warming with encouragement, shrieked, "Idefy that bell!" wherein she was likewise much commended.
"Inform the Tribunal of what you did that day within the Bastille,citizen."
"I knew," said Defarge, looking down at his wife, who stood at thebottom of the steps on which he was raised, looking steadily up athim; "I knew that this prisoner, of whom I speak, had been confined ina cell known as One Hundred and Five, North Tower. I knew it fromhimself. 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 gunthat day, I resolve, when the place shall fall, to examine thatcell. It falls. I mount to the cell, with a fellow-citizen who isone 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 andreplaced, I find a written paper. This is that written paper. I havemade it my business to examine some specimens of the writing of DoctorManette. This is the writing of Doctor Manette. I confide thispaper, in the writing of Doctor Manette, to the hands of thePresident."
"Let it be read."
In a dead silence and stillness- the prisoner under trial lookinglovingly at his wife, his wife only looking from him to look withsolicitude at her father, Doctor Manette keeping his eyes fixed on thereader, Madame Defarge never taking hers from the prisoner, Defargenever taking his from his feasting wife, and all the other eyesthere intent upon the Doctor, who saw none of them- the paper wasread, as follows.