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THE ESCAPE FROM PARIS
(FROM "A TALE OF TWO CITIES")
The same shadows that are falling on the prison are falling, in the same hour of that early afternoon, on the Barrier with the crowd about it, when a coach going out of Paris drives up to be examined.
"Who goes here? Whom have we within? Papers!" The papers are handed out and read.
"Alexandre Manette. Physician. French. Which
This is he; this helpless, inarticulately murmuring, wandering old man pointed out.
"Apparently the Citizen-Doctor is not in his right mind? The Revolution-fever will have been too much for him?"
Greatly too much for him.
"Hah! Many suffer with it. Lucie. His daughter. French. Which is she?"
"This is she."
"Apparently it must be. Lucie, the wife of Evremonde; is it not?"
"Hah! Evremonde has an assignation elsewhere. Lucie, her child. English. This is she?"
"She and no other."
"Kiss me, child of Evremonde.
Now, thou hast
kissed a good republican; something new in thy fam
ily, remember it! Sydney Carton. Advocate. English. Which is he?"
He lies here, in this corner of the carriage. He, too, is pointed out.
"Apparently the English advocate is in a swoon?" It is hoped he will recover in the fresher air. It is represented that he is not in strong health, and has separated sadly from a friend who is under the displeasure of the Republic.
"Is that all? It is not a great deal, that! Many are under the displeasure of the Republic, and must look out at the little window. Jarvis Lorry. Banker. English. Which is he?"
"I am he. Necessarily, being the last."
It is Jarvis Lorry who has replied to all the previous questions. It is Jarvis Lorry who has alighted and stands with his hand on the coach door, replying to a group of officials. They leisurely walk round the carriage and leisurely mount the box, to look at what little luggage it carries on the roof; the country-people hanging about, press nearer to the coach doors and greedily stare in; a little child, carried by its mother, has its short arm held out for it, that it may touch the wife of an aristocrat who has gone to the guillotine.
"Behold your papers, Jarvis Lorry, countersigned." "One can depart, citizen?"
"One can depart. Forward, my postilions! A good journey!
"I salute you, citizens. And the first danger passed!" These are again the words of Jarvis Lorry, as he
clasps his hands, and looks upward. There is terror in the carriage, there is weeping, there is the heavy breathing of the insensible traveller.
"Are we not going too slowly? Can they not be induced to go faster?" asks Lucie, clinging to the old
"It would seem like flight, my darling. I must not urge them too much; it would rouse suspicion."
"Look back, look back, and see if we are pursued!" "The road is clear, my dearest. So far, we are not pursued."
Houses in twos and threes pass by us, solitary farms, ruinous buildings, dye-works, tanneries, and the like, open country, avenues of leafless frees. The hard uneven pavement is under us, the soft deep mud is on either side. Sometimes we strike into the skirting mud, to avoid the stones that clatter us and shake us; sometimes we stick in ruts and sloughs there. The agony of our impatience is then so great, that in our wild alarm and hurry we are for getting out and running -hiding-doing anything but stopping.
Out of the open country, in again among ruinous buildings, solitary farms, dye-works, tanneries, and the like, cottages in twos and threes, avenues of leafless trees. Have these men deceived us, and taken us back by another road? Is not this the same place twice over? Thank Heaven, no. A village. Look back, look back, and see if we are pursued! Hush! The posting-house.
Leisurely, our four horses are taken out; leisurely, the coach stands in the little street, bereft of horses,
and with no likelihood upon it of ever moving again; leisurely, the new horses come into visible existence, one by one; leisurely, the new postilions follow, sucking and plaiting the lashes of their whips; leisurely, the old postilions count their money, make wrong additions, and arrive at dissatisfied results. All the time, our overfraught hearts are beating at a rate that would far outstrip the fastest gallop of the fastest horses ever foaled.
At length the new postilions are in their saddles, and the old are left behind. We are through the village, up the hill, and down the hill, and on the low watery grounds. Suddenly, the postilions exchange speech with animated gesticulation, and the horses are pulled up, almost on their haunches. We are pursued!
"Ho! Within the carriage there. Speak, then!" "What is it?" asks Mr. Lorry, looking out at window. "How many did they say?"
"I do not understand you."
-At the last post. How many to the guillotine to-day?" "Fifty-two."
"I said so! A brave number! My fellow-citizen here would have it forty-two; ten more heads are worth having. The guillotine goes handsomely. I love it. Hi forward! Whoop!"
The night comes on dark. He moves more; he is beginning to revive, and to speak intelligibly; he thinks they are still together; he asks him, by his name, what he has in his hand. Oh, pity us, kind Heaven, and
help us! Look out, look out, and see if we are pursued. The wind is rushing after us, and the clouds are flying after us, and the moon is plunging after us, and the whole wild night is in pursuit of us; but, so far, we are pursued by nothing else.
In that same juncture of time when the Fifty-two awaited their faté, Madame Defarge held darkly ominous council with The Vengeance and Jacques Three of the Revolutionary Jury. Not in the wine-shop did Madame Defarge confer with these ministers, but in the shed of the wood-sawyer, erst a mender of roads. The sawyer himself did not participate in the conference, but abided at a little distance, like an outer satellite, who was not to speak until required, or to offer an opinion until invited.
Madame Defarge beckoned the Juryman and The Vengeance a little nearer to the door, and there expounded her further views to them thus:
"She will now be at home, awaiting the moment of his death. She will be mourning and grieving. She will be in a state of mind to impeach the justice of the Republic. She will be full of sympathy with its enemies. I will go to her."
"What an admirable woman! What an adorable woman!" exclaimed Jacques Three rapturously. "Ah, my cherished!" cried The Vengeance; and embraced her.
“Take you my knitting," said Madame Defarge, plac