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In Three Books




DOCTOR MANETTE did not return until the
morning of the fourth day of his absence. So
much of what had happened in that dreadful
time as could be kept from the knowledge of
Lucie was so well concealed from her, that not
until long afterwards when France and she were
far apart, did she know that eleven hundred
defenceless prisoners of both sexes and all ages had
been killed by the populace; that four days and
nights had been darkened by this deed of horror;
and that the air around her had been tainted by
the slain. She only knew that there had been
an attack upon the prisons, that all political
prisoners had been in danger, and that some had
been dragged out by the crowd and murdered.

To Mr. Lorry, the Doctor communicated under
an injunction of secrecy on which he had no
need to dwell, that the crowd had taken him
through a scene of carnage to the prison of La
Force. That, in the prison he had found a self-
appointed Tribunal sitting, before which the
prisoners were brought singly, and by which
they were rapidly ordered to be put forth to be
massacred, or to be released, or (in a few cases)
to be sent back to their cells. That, presented
by his conductors to this Tribunal, he had
announced himself by name and profession as
having been for eighteen years a secret and an
unaccused prisoner in the Bastille; that, one of
the body so sitting in judgment had risen and
identified him, and that this man was Defarge.

That, hereupon he had ascertained, through
the registers on the table, that his son-in-law
was among the living prisoners, and had
pleaded hard to the Tribunalof whom some
members were asleep and some awake, some
dirty with murder and some clean, some sober
and some notor his life and liberty. That, in
the first frantic greetings lavished on himself
as a notable sufferer under the overthrown
system, it had been accorded to him to have
Charles Darnay brought before the lawless Court,
and examined. That, he seemed on the point of
being at once released, when the tide in his
favour met with some unexplained check (not
intelligible to the Doctor), which led to a few
words of secret conference. That, the man
sitting as President had then informed Doctor
Manette that the prisoner must remain in
custody, but should, for his sake, be held inviolate
in safe custody. That, immediately, on a signal,
the prisoner was removed to the interior of the
prison again; but, that he, the Doctor, had then
so strongly pleaded for permission to remain and
assure himself that his son-in-law was, through
no malice or mischance, delivered to the
concourse whose murderous yells outside the gate
had often drowned the proceedings, that he had
obtained the permission, and had remained in
that Hall of Blood until the danger was over.

The sights lie had seen there, with brief
snatches of food and sleep by intervals, shall
remain untold. The mad joy over the prisoners
who were saved, had astounded him scarcely less
than the mad ferocity against those who were
cut to pieces. One prisoner there was, he said,
who had been discharged into the street free,
but at whom a mistaken savage had thrust a
pike as he passed out. Being besought to go to
him and dress the wound, the Doctor had passed
out at the same gate, and had found him in the
arms of a company of Samaritans, who were
seated on the bodies of their victims. With an
inconsistency as monstrous as anything in
this awful nightmare, they had helped the
healer, and tended the wounded man with the
gentlest solicitudehad made a litter for him
and escorted him carefully from the spothad
then caught up their weapons and plunged
anew into a butchery so dreadful, that the
Doctor had covered his eyes with his hands, and
swooned away in the midst of it.

As Mr. Lorry received these confidences, and
as he watched the face of his friend now sixty-
two years of age, a misgiving arose within him
that such dread experiences would revive the old
danger. But, he had never seen his friend in
his present aspect; he had never at all known
him in his present character. For the first time
the Doctor felt, now, that his suffering was
strength and power. For the first time, he felt
that in that sharp fire, he had slowly forged the
iron which could break the prison door of his
daughter's husband, and deliver him. "It all
tended to a good end, my friend; it was not
mere waste and ruin. As my beloved child
was helpful in restoring me to myself, I will
be helpful now in restoring the dearest part