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Chapter 6 Triumph

  • The dread tribunal of five Judges, Public Prosecutor, and determined Jury, sa_very day. Their lists went forth every evening, and were read out by th_aolers of the various prisons to their prisoners. The standard gaoler-jok_as, "Come out and listen to the Evening Paper, you inside there!"
  • "Charles Evremonde, called Darnay!"
  • So at last began the Evening Paper at La Force.
  • When a name was called, its owner stepped apart into a spot reserved for thos_ho were announced as being thus fatally recorded. Charles Evremonde, calle_arnay, had reason to know the usage; he had seen hundreds pass away so.
  • His bloated gaoler, who wore spectacles to read with, glanced over them t_ssure himself that he had taken his place, and went through the list, makin_ similar short pause at each name. There were twenty-three names, but onl_wenty were responded to; for one of the prisoners so summoned had died i_aol and been forgotten, and two had already been guillotined and forgotten.
  • The list was read, in the vaulted chamber where Darnay had seen the associate_risoners on the night of his arrival. Every one of those had perished in th_assacre; every human creature he had since cared for and parted with, ha_ied on the scaffold.
  • There were hurried words of farewell and kindness, but the parting was soo_ver. It was the incident of every day, and the society of La Force wer_ngaged in the preparation of some games of forfeits and a little concert, fo_hat evening. They crowded to the grates and shed tears there; but, twent_laces in the projected entertainments had to be refilled, and the time was, at best, short to the lock-up hour, when the common rooms and corridors woul_e delivered over to the great dogs who kept watch there through the night.
  • The prisoners were far from insensible or unfeeling; their ways arose out o_he condition of the time. Similarly, though with a subtle difference, _pecies of fervour or intoxication, known, without doubt, to have led som_ersons to brave the guillotine unnecessarily, and to die by it, was not mer_oastfulness, but a wild infection of the wildly shaken public mind. I_easons of pestilence, some of us will have a secret attraction to th_isease— a terrible passing inclination to die of it. And all of us have lik_onders hidden in our breasts, only needing circumstances to evoke them.
  • The passage to the Conciergerie was short and dark; the night in its vermin- haunted cells was long and cold. Next day, fifteen prisoners were put to th_ar before Charles Darnay's name was called. All the fifteen were condemned, and the trials of the whole occupied an hour and a half.
  • "Charles Evremonde, called Darnay," was at length arraigned.
  • His judges sat upon the Bench in feathered hats; but the rough red cap an_ricoloured cockade was the head-dress otherwise prevailing. Looking at th_ury and the turbulent audience, he might have thought that the usual order o_hings was reversed, and that the felons were trying the honest men. Th_owest, cruelest, and worst populace of a city, never without its quantity o_ow, cruel, and bad, were the directing spirits of the scene: noisil_ommenting, applauding, disapproving, anticipating, and precipitating th_esult, without a check. Of the men, the greater part were armed in variou_ays; of the women, some wore knives, some daggers, some ate and drank as the_ooked on, many knitted. Among these last, was one, with a spare piece o_nitting under her arm as she worked. She was in a front row, by the side of _an whom he had never seen since his arrival at the Barrier, but whom h_irectly remembered as Defarge. He noticed that she once or twice whispered i_is ear, and that she seemed to be his wife; but, what he most noticed in th_wo figures was, that although they were posted as close to himself as the_ould be, they never looked towards him. They seemed to be waiting fo_omething with a dogged determination, and they looked at the Jury, but a_othing else. Under the President sat Doctor Manette, in his usual quie_ress. As well as the prisoner could see, he and Mr. Lorry were the only me_here, unconnected with the Tribunal, who wore their usual clothes, and ha_ot assumed the coarse garb of the Carmagnole.
  • Charles Evremonde, called Darnay, was accused by the public prosecutor as a_migrant, whose life was forfeit to the Republic, under the decree whic_anished all emigrants on pain of Death. It was nothing that the decree bor_ate since his return to France. There he was, and there was the decree; h_ad been taken in France, and his head was demanded.
  • "Take off his head!" cried the audience. "An enemy to the Republic!"
  • The President rang his bell to silence those cries, and asked the prisone_hether it was not true that he had lived many years in England?
  • Undoubtedly it was.
  • Was he not an emigrant then? What did he call himself?
  • Not an emigrant, he hoped, within the sense and spirit of the law.
  • Why not? the President desired to know.
  • Because he had voluntarily relinquished a title that was distasteful to him, and a station that was distasteful to him, and had left his country—h_ubmitted before the word emigrant in the present acceptation by the Tribuna_as in use—to live by his own industry in England, rather than on the industr_f the overladen people of France.
  • What proof had he of this?
  • He handed in the names of two witnesses; Theophile Gabelle, and Alexandr_anette.
  • But he had married in England? the President reminded him.
  • True, but not an English woman.
  • A citizeness of France?
  • Yes. By birth.
  • Her name and family?
  • "Lucie Manette, only daughter of Doctor Manette, the good physician who sit_here."
  • This answer had a happy effect upon the audience. Cries in exaltation of th_ell-known good physician rent the hall. So capriciously were the peopl_oved, that tears immediately rolled down several ferocious countenances whic_ad been glaring at the prisoner a moment before, as if with impatience t_luck him out into the streets and kill him.
  • On these few steps of his dangerous way, Charles Darnay had set his foo_ccording to Doctor Manette's reiterated instructions. The same cautiou_ounsel directed every step that lay before him, and had prepared every inc_f his road.
  • The President asked, why had he returned to France when he did, and no_ooner?
  • He had not returned sooner, he replied, simply because he had no means o_iving in France, save those he had resigned; whereas, in England, he lived b_iving instruction in the French language and literature. He had returned whe_e did, on the pressing and written entreaty of a French citizen, wh_epresented that his life was endangered by his absence. He had come back, t_ave 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 t_uiet them. Which it did not, for they continued to cry "No!" until they lef_ff, of their own will.
  • The President required the name of that citizen. The accused explained tha_he citizen was his first witness. He also referred with confidence to th_itizen's letter, which had been taken from him at the Barrier, but which h_id 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 i_ould 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 busines_mposed on the Tribunal by the multitude of enemies of the Republic with whic_t had to deal, he had been slightly overlooked in his prison of the Abbaye—i_act, had rather passed out of the Tribunal's patriotic remembrance—unti_hree days ago; when he had been summoned before it, and had been set a_iberty on the Jury's declaring themselves satisfied that the accusatio_gainst him was answered, as to himself, by the surrender of the citize_vremonde, called Darnay.
  • Doctor Manette was next questioned. His high personal popularity, and th_learness of his answers, made a great impression; but, as he proceeded, as h_howed that the Accused was his first friend on his release from his lon_mprisonment; that, the accused had remained in England, always faithful an_evoted to his daughter and himself in their exile; that, so far from being i_avour with the Aristocrat government there, he had actually been tried fo_is life by it, as the foe of England and friend of the United States—as h_rought these circumstances into view, with the greatest discretion and wit_he straightforward force of truth and earnestness, the Jury and the populac_ecame one. At last, when he appealed by name to Monsieur Lorry, an Englis_entleman then and there present, who, like himself, had been a witness o_hat English trial and could corroborate his account of it, the Jury declare_hat they had heard enough, and that they were ready with their votes if th_resident were content to receive them.
  • At every vote (the Jurymen voted aloud and individually), the populace set u_ shout of applause. All the voices were in the prisoner's favour, and th_resident declared him free.
  • Then, began one of those extraordinary scenes with which the populac_ometimes gratified their fickleness, or their better impulses toward_enerosity and mercy, or which they regarded as some set-off against thei_wollen account of cruel rage. No man can decide now to which of these motive_uch extraordinary scenes were referable; it is probable, to a blending of al_he three, with the second predominating. No sooner was the acquitta_ronounced, than tears were shed as freely as blood at another time, and suc_raternal embraces were bestowed upon the prisoner by as many of both sexes a_ould rush at him, that after his long and unwholesome confinement he was i_anger of fainting from exhaustion; none the less because he knew very well, that the very same people, carried by another current, would have rushed a_im with the very same intensity, to rend him to pieces and strew him over th_treets.
  • 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 trie_ogether, next, as enemies of the Republic, forasmuch as they had not assiste_t by word or deed. So quick was the Tribunal to compensate itself and th_ation for a chance lost, that these five came down to him before he left th_lace, condemned to die within twenty-four hours. The first of them told hi_o, with the customary prison sign of Death—a raised finger—and they all adde_n words, "Long live the Republic!"
  • The five had had, it is true, no audience to lengthen their proceedings, fo_hen he and Doctor Manette emerged from the gate, there was a great crow_bout it, in which there seemed to be every face he had seen in Court—excep_wo, for which he looked in vain. On his coming out, the concourse made at hi_new, weeping, embracing, and shouting, all by turns and all together, unti_he 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 take_ither out of the Court itself, or one of its rooms or passages. Over th_hair they had thrown a red flag, and to the back of it they had bound a pik_ith a red cap on its top. In this car of triumph, not even the Doctor'_ntreaties 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 sigh_rom the stormy deep such wrecks of faces, that he more than once misdoubte_is mind being in confusion, and that he was in the tumbril on his way to th_uillotine.
  • In wild dreamlike procession, embracing whom they met and pointing him out, they carried him on. Reddening the snowy streets with the prevailin_epublican colour, in winding and tramping through them, as they had reddene_hem below the snow with a deeper dye, they carried him thus into th_ourtyard of the building where he lived. Her father had gone on before, t_repare her, and when her husband stood upon his feet, she dropped insensibl_n his arms.
  • As he held her to his heart and turned her beautiful head between his face an_he 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 th_acant chair a young woman from the crowd to be carried as the Goddess o_iberty, and then swelling and overflowing out into the adjacent streets, an_long the river's bank, and over the bridge, the Carmagnole absorbed the_very 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 hi_truggle against the waterspout of the Carmagnole; after kissing little Lucie, who was lifted up to clasp her arms round his neck; and after embracing th_ver zealous and faithful Pross who lifted her; he took his wife in his arms, and carried her up to their rooms.
  • "Lucie! My own! I am safe."
  • "O dearest Charles, let me thank God for this on my knees as I have prayed t_im."
  • They all reverently bowed their heads and hearts. When she was again in hi_rms, he said to her:
  • "And now speak to your father, dearest. No other man in all this France coul_ave done what he has done for me."
  • She laid her head upon her father's breast, as she had laid his poor head o_er own breast, long, long ago. He was happy in the return he had made her, h_as recompensed for his suffering, he was proud of his strength. "You must no_e weak, my darling," he remonstrated; "don't tremble so. I have saved him."