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In Three Books



"I, ALEXANDRE MANETTE, unfortunate
physician, native of Beauvais and afterwards
resident in Paris, write this melancholy paper in my
doleful cell in the Bastille, during the last month
of the year, 1767. I write it at stolen intervals,
under every difficulty. I design to secrete it in
the wall of the chimney, where I have slowly
and laboriously made a place of concealment for
it. Some pitying hand may find it there, when
I and my sorrows are dust.

"These words are formed by the rusty iron
point with which I write with difficulty in
scrapings of soot and charcoal from the chimney,
mixed with blood, in the last month of the
tenth year of my captivity. Hope has quite
departed from my breast. I know from terrible
warnings I have noted in myself that my reason
will not long remain unimpaired, but I solemnly
declare that I am at this time in the possession
of my right mindthat my memory is exact
and circumstantialand that I write the truth
as I shall answer for these my last recorded
words, whether they be ever read by men or not,
at the Eternal Judgment-seat.

"One cloudy moonlight night, in the third
week of December (I think the twenty-second
of the month) in the year 1757, I was walking
on a retired part of the quay by the Seine for the
refreshment of the frosty air, at an hour's
distance from my place of residence in the Street
of the School of Medicine, when a carriage came
along behind me, driven very fast. As I stood
aside to let that carriage pass, apprehensive that
it might otherwise run me down, a head was
put out at the window, and a voice called to the
driver to stop.

"The carriage stopped as soon as the driver
could rein in his horses, and the same voice
called to me by my name. I answered. The
carriage was then so far in advance of me that
two gentlemen had time to open the door and
alight before I came up with it. I observed
that they were both wrapped in cloaks, and
appeared to conceal themselves. As they stood
side by side near the carriage door, I also
observed that they both looked of about my own
age, or rather younger, and that they were
greatly alike, in stature, manner, voice, and (as
far as I could see) face too.

"'You are Doctor Manette?' said one.

"'I am.'

"'Doctor Manette, formerly of Beauvais,'
said the other; 'the young physician, originally
an expert surgeon, who, within the last year or
two has made a rising reputation in Paris?'

"'Gentlemen,' I returned, 'I am that Doctor
Manette of whom you speak so graciously.'

"'We have been to your residence,' said the
first, 'and not being so fortunate as to find you
there, and being informed that you were
probably walking in this direction, we followed, in
the hope of overtaking you. Will you please
to enter the carriage?'

"The manner of both was imperious, and
they both moved, as these words were spoken, so
as to place me between themselves and the
carriage door. They were armed. I was not.

"'Gentlemen,' said I, 'pardon me; but I
usually inquire who does me the honour to seek
my assistance, and what is the nature of the
case to which I am summoned.'

"The reply to this, was made by him who had
spoken second. 'Doctor, your clients are people
of condition. As to the nature of the case, our
confidence in your skill assures us that you will
ascertain it for yourself better than we can
describe it. Enough. Will you please to enter
the carriage?'

"I could do nothing but comply, and I
entered it in silence. They both entered after
methe last springing in, after putting up the
steps. The carriage turned about, and drove
on at its former speed.

"I repeat this conversation exactly as it
occurred. I have no doubt that it is, word for
word, the same. I describe everything exactly
as it took place, constraining my mind not to
wander from the task. Where I make the
broken marks that follow here, I leave off for
the time, and put my paper in its hiding-
place.* * * * * *

"The carriage left the streets behind, passed
the North Barrier, and emerged upon the country
road. At two-thirds of a league from the Barrier
I did not estimate the distance at that time,
but afterwards when I traversed itit struck
out of the main avenue, and presently stopped at