If the suddenness of her calamity, and the whirling wheels of thetime, had stunned the Doctor's daughter into awaiting the result inidle despair, it would but have been with her as it was with many.But, from the hour when she had taken the white head to her freshyoung bosom in the garret of Saint Antoine, she had been true to herduties. She was truest to them in the season of trial, as all thequietly loyal and good will always be.
As soon as they were established in their new residence, and herfather had entered on the routine of his avocations, she arrangedthe little household as exactly as if her husband had been there.Everything had its appointed place and its appointed time. LittleLucie she taught, as regularly, as if they had all been united intheir English home. The slight devices with which she cheatedherself into the show of a belief that they would soon be reunited-the little preparations for his speedy return, the setting aside ofhis chair and his books- these, and the solemn prayer at night for onedear prisoner especially, among the many unhappy souls in prison andthe shadow of death- were almost the only outspoken reliefs of herheavy mind.
She did not greatly alter in appearance. The plain dark dresses,akin to mourning dresses, which she and her child wore, were as neatand as well attended to as the brighter clothes of happy days. Shelost her colour, and the old and intent expression was a constant, notan occasional, thing; otherwise, she remained very pretty andcomely. Sometimes, at night on kissing her father, she would burstinto the grief she had repressed all day, and would say that hersole reliance, under Heaven, was on him. He always resolutelyanswered: "Nothing can happen to him without my knowledge, and Iknow that I can save him, Lucie."
They had not made the round of their changed life many weeks, whenher father said to her, on coming home one evening:
"My dear, there is an upper window in the prison, to which Charlescan sometimes gain access at three in the afternoon. When he can getto it- which depends on many uncertainties and incidents- he might seeyou in the street, he thinks, if you stood in a certain place that Ican show you. But you will not be able to see him, my poor child,and even if you could, it would be unsafe for you to make a sign ofrecognition."
"O show me the place, my father, and I will go there every day."
From that time, in all weathers, she waited there two hours. Asthe clock struck two, she was there, and at four she turned resignedlyaway. When it was not too wet or inclement for her child to be withher, they went together; at other times she was alone; but, shenever missed a single day.
It was the dark and dirty corner of a small winding street. Thehovel of a cutter of wood into lengths for burning, was the only houseat that end; all else was wall. On the third day of her being there,he noticed her.
"Good day, citizeness."
"Good day, citizen."
This mode of address was now prescribed by decree. It had beenestablished voluntarily some time ago, among the more thoroughpatriots; but, was now law for everybody.
"Walking here again, citizeness?"
"You see me, citizen!"
The wood-sawyer, who was a little man with a redundancy of gesture(he had once been a mender of roads), cast a glance at the prison,pointed at the prison, and putting his ten fingers before his faceto represent bars, peeped through them jocosely.
"But it's not my business," said he. And went on sawing his wood.
Next day he was looking out for her, and accosted her the moment sheappeared.
"What? Walking here again, citizeness?"
"Ah! A child too! Your mother, is it not, my little citizeness?"
"Do I say yes, mamma?" whispered little Lucie, drawing close to her.
"Ah! But it's not my business. My work is my business. See my saw! Icall it my Little Guillotine. La, la, la; La, la, la! And off his headcomes!" The billet fell as he spoke, and he threw it into a basket.
"I call myself the Samson of the firewood guillotine. See hereagain! Loo, loo, loo; Loo, loo, loo! And off her head comes! Now, achild. Tickle, tickle; Pickle, pickle! And off its head comes. All thefamily!"
Lucie shuddered as he threw two more billets into his basket, but itwas impossible to be there while the wood-sawyer was at work, andnot be in his sight. Thenceforth, to secure his good will, shealways spoke to him first, and often gave him drink-money, which hereadily received.
He was an inquisitive fellow, and sometimes when she had quiteforgotten him in gazing at the prison roof and grates, and inlifting her heart up to her husband, she would come to herself to findhim looking at her, with his knee on his bench and his saw stoppedin its work. "But it's not my business!" he would generally say atthose times, and would briskly fall to his sawing again.
In all weathers, in the snow and frost of winter, in the bitterwinds of spring, in the bot sunshine of summer, in the rains ofautumn, and again in the snow and frost of winter, Lucie passed twohours of every day at this place; and every day on leaving it, shekissed the prison wall. Her husband saw her (so she learned from herfather) it might be once in five or six times: it might be twice orthrice running: it might be, not for a week or a fortnight together.It was enough that he could and did see her when the chances served,and on that possibility she would have waited out the day, sevendays a week.
These occupations brought her round to the December month, whereinher father walked among the terrors with a steady head. On alightly-snowing afternoon she arrived at the usual corner. It was aday of some wild rejoicing, and a festival. She had seen the houses,as she came along, decorated with little pikes, and with little redcaps stuck upon them; also, with tricoloured ribbons; also, with thestandard inscription (tricoloured letters were the favourite),Republic One and Indivisible. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death!
The miserable shop of the wood-sawyer was so small, that its wholesurface furnished very indifferent space for this legend. He had gotsomebody to scrawl it up for him, however, who had squeezed Death inwith most inappropriate difficulty. On his house-top, he displayedpike and cap, as a good citizen must, and in a window he had stationedhis saw inscribed as his "Little Sainte Guillotine"- for the greatsharp female was by that time popularly canonised. His shop was shutand he was not there, which was a relief to Lucie, and left herquite alone.
But, he was not far off, for presently she heard a troubled movementand a shouting coming along, which filled her with fear. A momentafterwards, and a throng of people came pouring round the corner bythe prison wall, in the midst of whom was the wood-sawyer hand in handwith The Vengeance. There could not be fewer than five hundred people,and they were dancing like five thousand demons. There was no othermusic than their own singing. They danced to the popular Revolutionsong, keeping a ferocious time that was like a gnashing of teeth inunison. Men and women danced together, women danced together, mendanced together, as hazard had brought them together. At first, theywere a mere storm of coarse red caps and coarse woollen rags; but,as they filled the place, and stopped to dance about Lucie, someghastly apparition of a dance-figure gone raving mad arose among them.They advanced, retreated, struck at one another's hands, clutched atone another's heads, spun round alone, caught one another and spunround in pairs, until many of them dropped. While those were down, therest linked hand in hand, and all spun round together: then the ringbroke, and in separate rings of two and four they turned and turneduntil they all stopped at once, began again, struck, clutched, andtore, and then reversed the spin, and all spun round another way.Suddenly they stopped again, paused, struck out the time afresh,formed into lines the width of the public way, and, with their headslow down and their hands high up, swooped screaming off. No fightcould have been half so terrible as this dance. It was so emphaticallya fallen sport- a something, once innocent, delivered over to alldevilry- a healthy pastime changed into a means of angering the blood,bewildering the senses, and steeling the heart. Such grace as wasvisible in it, made it the uglier, showing how warped and pervertedall things good by nature were become. The maidenly bosom bared tothis, the pretty almost-child's head thus distracted, the delicatefoot mincing in this slough of blood and dirt, were types of thedisjointed time.
This was the Carmagnole. As it passed, leaving Lucie frightenedand bewildered in the doorway of the wood-sawyer's house, the featherysnow fell as quietly and lay as white and soft, as if it had neverbeen.
"O my father!" for he stood before her when she lifted up the eyesshe had momentarily darkened with her hand; "such a cruel, bad sight."
"I know, my dear, I know. I have seen it many times. Don't befrightened! Not one of them would harm you."
"I am not frightened for myself, my father. But when I think of myhusband, and the mercies of these people--"
"We will set him above their mercies very soon. I left himclimbing to the window, and I came to tell you. There is no one hereto see. You may kiss your hand towards that highest shelving roof."
"I do so, father, and I send him my Soul with it!"
"You cannot see him, my poor dear?"
"No, father," said Lucie, yearning and weeping as she kissed herhand, "no."
A footstep in the snow. Madame Defarge. "I salute you,citizeness," from the Doctor. "I salute you, citizen." This inpassing. Nothing more. Madame Defarge gone, like a shadow over thewhite road.
"Give me your arm, my love. Pass from here with an air ofcheerfulness and courage, for his sake. That was well done;" theyhad left the spot; "it shall not be in vain. Charles is summoned forto-morrow."
"There is no time to lose. I am well prepared, but there areprecautions to be taken, that could not be taken until he was actuallysummoned before the Tribunal. He has not received the notice yet,but I know that he will presently be summoned for to-morrow, andremoved to the Conciergerie; I have timely information. You are notafraid?"
She could scarcely answer, "I trust in you."
"Do so, implicitly. Your suspense is nearly ended, my darling; heshall be restored to you within a few hours; I have encompassed himwith every protection. I must see Lorry."
He stopped. There was a heavy lumbering of wheels within hearing.They both knew too well what it meant. One. Two. Three. Three tumbrilsfaring away with their dread loads over the hushing snow.
"I must see Lorry," the Doctor repeated, turning her another way.
The staunch old gentleman was still in his trust; had never left it.He and his books were in frequent requisition as to propertyconfiscated and made national. What he could save for the owners, hesaved. No better man living to hold fast by what Tellson's had inkeeping, and to hold his peace.
A murky red and yellow sky, and a rising mist from the Seine,denoted the approach of darkness. It was almost dark when they arrivedat the Bank. The stately residence of Monseigneur was altogetherblighted and deserted. Above a heap of dust and ashes in the court,ran the letters: National Property. Republic One and Indivisible.Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death!
Who could that be with Mr. Lorry- the owner of the riding-coatupon the chair- who must not be seen? From whom newly arrived, didhe come out, agitated and surprised, to take his favourite in hisarms? To whom did he appear to repeat her faltering words, when,raising his voice and turning his head towards the door of the roomfrom which he had issued, he said: "Removed to the Conciergerie, andsummoned for to-morrow?"