A Tale of Two Cities  双城记

The Judges having to take part in a public demonstration out ofdoors, the Tribunal adjourned. The quick noise and movement of thecourt's emptying itself by many passages had not ceased, when Luciestood stretching out her arms towards her husband, with nothing in herface but love and consolation.


"If I might touch him! If I might embrace him once! O, goodcitizens, if you would have so much compassion for us!"


There was but a gaoler left, along with two of the four men whohad taken him last night, and Barsad. The people had all poured out tothe show in the streets. Barsad proposed to the rest, "Let her embracehim then; it is but a moment." It was silently acquiesced in, and theypassed her over the seats in the hall to a raised place, where he,by leaning over the dock, could fold her in his arms.


"Farewell, dear darling of my soul. My parting blessing on mylove. We shall meet again, where the weary are at rest!"


They were her husband's words, as he held her to his bosom.


"I can bear it, dear Charles. I am supported from above: don'tsuffer for me. A parting blessing for our child."


"I send it to her by you. I kiss her by you. I say farewell to herby you."


"My husband. No! A moment!" He was tearing himself apart from her."We shall not be separated long. I feel that this will break myheart by-and-bye; but I will do my duty while I can, and when Ileave her, God will raise up friends for her, as He did for me."


Her father had followed her, and would have fallen on his knees toboth of them, but that Darnay put out a hand and seized him, crying:


"No, no! What have you done, what have you done, that you shouldkneel to us! We know now, what a struggle you made of old. We know,now what you underwent when you suspected my descent, and when youknew it. We know now, the natural antipathy you strove against, andconquered, for her dear sake. We thank you with all our hearts, andall our love and duty. Heaven be with you!"


Her father's only answer was to draw his hands through his whitehair, and wring them with a shriek of anguish.


"It could not be otherwise," said the prisoner. "All things haveworked together as they have fallen out. It was the always-vainendeavour to discharge my poor mother's trust that first brought myfatal presence near you. Good could never come of such evil, a happierend was not in nature to so unhappy a beginning. Be comforted, andforgive me. Heaven bless you!"


As he was drawn away, his wife released him, and stood looking afterhim with her hands touching one another in the attitude of prayer, andwith a radiant look upon her face, in which there was even acomforting smile. As he went out at the prisoners' door, she turned,laid her head lovingly on her father's breast, tried to speak tohim, and fell at his feet.


Then, issuing from the obscure corner from which he had never moved,Sydney Carton came and took her up. Only her father and Mr. Lorry werewith her. His arm trembled as it raised her, and supported her head.Yet, there was an air about him that was not all of pity- that had aflush of pride in it.


"Shall I take her to a coach? I shall never feel her weight."


He carried her lightly to the door, and laid her tenderly down ina coach. Her father and their old friend got into it, and he tookhis seat beside the driver.


When they arrived at the gateway where he had paused in the dark notmany hours before, to picture to himself on which of the roughstones of the street her feet had trodden, he lifted her again, andcarried her up rhe staircase to their rooms. There, he laid her downon a couch, where her child and Miss Pross wept over her.


"Don't recall her to herself," he said, softly, to the latter,"she is better so. Don't revive her to consciousness, while she onlyfaints."


"Oh, Carton, Carton, Carton!" cried little Lucie, springing up andthrowing her arms passionately round him, in a burst of grief. "Nowthat you have come, I think you will do something to help mamma,something to save papa! O, look at her, dear Carton! Can you, of allthe people who love her, bear to see her so?"


He bent over the child, and laid her blooming cheek against hisface. He put her gently from him, and looked at her unconsciousmother.


"Before I go," he said, and paused- "I may kiss her?"


It was remembered afterwards that when he bent down and touchedher face with his lips, he murmured some words. The child, who wasnearest to him, told them afterwards, and told her grandchildrenwhen she was a handsome old lady, that she heard him say, "A lifeyou love."


When he had gone out into the next room, he turned suddenly on Mr.Lorry and her father, who were following, and said to the latter:


"You had great influence but yesterday, Doctor Manette; let it atleast be tried. These judges, and all the men in power, are veryfriendly to you, and very recognisant of your services; are they not?"


"Nothing connected with Charles was concealed from me. I had thestrongest assurances that I should save him; and I did." He returnedthe answer in great trouble, and very slowly.


"Try them again. The hours between this and to-morrow afternoonare few and short, but try."


"I intend to try. I will not rest a moment."


"That's well. I have known such energy as yours do great thingsbefore now- though never," he added, with a smile and a sigh together,"such great things as this. But try! Of little worth as life is whenwe misuse it, it is worth that effort. It would cost nothing to laydown if it were not."


"I will go," said Doctor Manette, "to the Prosecutor and thePresident straight, and I will go to others whom it is better not toname. I will write too, and- But stay! There is a celebration in thestreets, and no one will be accessible until dark."


"That's true. Well! It is a forlorn hope at the best, and not muchthe forlorner for being delayed till dark. I should like to know howyou speed; though, mind! I expect nothing! When are you likely to haveseen these dread powers, Doctor Manette?"


"Immediately after dark, I should hope. Within an hour or two fromthis."


"It will be dark soon after four. Let us stretch the hour or two. IfI go to Mr. Lorry's at nine, shall I hear what you have done, eitherfrom our friend or from yourself?"




"May you prosper!"


Mr. Lorry followed Sydney to the outer door, and, touching him onthe shoulder as he was going away, caused him to turn.


"I have no hope," said Mr. Lorry, in a low and sorrowful whisper.


"Nor have I."


"If any one of these men, or all of these men, were disposed tospare him- which is a large supposition; for what is his life, orany man's to them!- I doubt if they durst spare him after thedemonstration in the court."


"And so do I. I heard the fall of the axe in that sound."


Mr. Lorry leaned his arm upon the door-post, and bowed his face uponit.


"Don't despond," said Carton, very gently; "don't grieve. Iencouraged Doctor Manette in this idea, because I felt that it mightone day be consolatory to her. Otherwise, she might think 'his lifewas wantonly thrown away or wasted,' and that might trouble her."


"Yes, yes, yes," returned Mr. Lorry, drying his eyes, "you areright.


But he will perish; there is no real hope."


"Yes. He will perish: there is no real hope," echoed Carton. Andwalked with a settled step, down-stairs.