فصل 10

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 10

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  • زمان مطالعه 11 دقیقه
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CHAPTER TEN

The secret paper

When Charles Darnay was led before the Tribunal the next morning, Dr Manette, Lucie and Mr Lorry were all there. The love in Lucie’s eyes as she looked at her husband warmed Darnay’s heart. It had the same effect on Sydney Carton, though no one saw him standing at the back of the room.

It was the same Tribunal who had let Darnay go free on the day before. But Revolution Laws were not as powerful as the anger of the people.

The President of the Tribunal asked, ‘Who has accused Charles Evremonde again?’

‘Three voices,’ he was told. ‘He is accused by Ernest Defarge, by Teresa Defarge his wife, and by Alexandre Manette, Doctor.’

There was a great noise in the room when Dr Manette’s name was heard. When the shouting stopped, Dr Manette stood, pale and trembling.

‘President, this cannot be true. You know that the man who is accused, Charles Darnay, is my daughter’s husband. My daughter and those who are dear to her are far more important to me than my life. Where is the liar who says that I accuse my daughter’s husband?’

‘Citizen Manette,’ said the President, ‘be calm. Nothing can be more important to a good citizen than the freedom of France.’

Defarge came forward to answer questions. He told how he had been at the Bastille at the beginning of the Revolution, when that hated prison had been taken by the citizens.

‘I knew that Dr Manette had been kept in a room known as One Hundred and Five, North Tower. It was the only name he had when he came to me in 1775. I went to the room and, hidden in a hole, I found a written paper. It is in Dr Manette’s writing.’

‘Read it to us,’ said the President, and the crowd fell silent and listened.

I, Alexandre Manette, write this in the Bastille in 1767. I have been here for ten long years and I write this in my secret moments, when I can.

One evening in December, 1757, I was walking by the River Seine and a coach stopped beside me. Two men got out and one asked me if I was Dr Manette. When I replied that I was, they asked me to go with them, and made it clear that I could not refuse.

The coach left Paris and stopped at a lonely house. I could hear cries coming from a room upstairs. When I went in, I saw a young woman lying on a bed. She was young and very beautiful. She was also very ill. She kept crying out, ‘My husband, my father, and my brother!’ Then she listened for a moment, and began once again, ‘My husband, my father, and my brother…’

I gave the girl something to make her calmer, but her feverish screams continued. Then I turned to question the two men. They were clearly brothers, and their clothes and voices suggested that they were noblemen. But they took care to prevent me from learning their name.

Before I could speak, the older brother said carelessly, There is another patient.’ In a different room, they showed me a boy of about seventeen. There was a sword wound in his chest and I could see at once that he was dying.

‘How did this happen?’ I asked.

‘He’s just a crazy young peasant. He came here shouting about revenge, and made my brother fight him.’ The older brother’s voice was cold and hard; he seemed to think the boy was less important than a horse or a dog.

The boy’s eyes looked at me. ‘Have you seen her… my sister?’ It was hard for him to speak.

‘I have seen her’ I replied.

‘These rich nobles are cruel to us, Doctor. They destroy our land, they take our food, they steal our sisters. My sister loved a man in our village; he was sick, but she married him to take care of him. But my sister is beautiful, and that nobleman’s brother saw her and wanted her. They made her husband work night and day without stopping, until he dropped dead where he stood. Then they took my sister away. When my father heard what had happened, the news was too much for his poor heart and he died suddenly. I took my younger sister to a place where she is safe, and came here to find this man. He threw some money at me, tried to buy me like a dog, but I made him pull his sword and fight me to save his life.’

The boy’s life was going fast, but he cried, ‘Lift me, Doctor.’ He turned his face towards the older brother. ‘Marquis,’ he said loudly, ‘I call for you and your brother, and all your family, now and in the future, to pay for what you have done.’ Then he fell back, dead.

The young woman’s fever continued, but I could not save her. She lived for several more days, and once the Marquis said to me, ‘How long these peasants take to die!’

When she was dead, the brothers warned me to keep silent. They offered me money, but I refused it and was taken back to my home.

The next day I decided to write to the King’s officials. I knew that nobles who did unlawful things were usually not punished, and I expected that nothing would happen. But I did not realize the danger for myself. Just as I had finished writing my letter, a lady came to see me. She said she was the wife of the Marquis of Evremonde and she had discovered what her husband and his brother had done. She wanted to help the younger sister of the girl who had died, and asked me where she could find her. Sadly, I did not know and so could not tell her. But that was how I learnt the brothers’ name.

The wife of the Marquis was a good, kind woman, deeply unhappy in her marriage. She had brought her son with her, a boy about three years old. ‘If I cannot find this poor girl,’ she said, ‘I shall tell my son to continue the search after my death. You will remember that, little Charles, won’t you?’

The child answered, ‘Yes!’

Later that day I sent my letter to the King’s officials and that night there was a knock at my door. My servant, a boy called Ernest Defarge, brought in a stranger, who asked me to come at once to visit a sick man in the next street.

As soon as I was outside the house, several men took hold of me violently. The Evremonde brothers came out of the darkness and the Marquis took my letter out of his pocket, showed it to me, and burned it. Not a word was spoken. Then I was brought here to this prison, my living grave.

I have been here for ten long years. I do not know if my dear wife is alive or dead; these brothers have sent me no news of my family. There is no goodness in their cruel hearts. I, Alexandre Manette, in my pain and sadness, I condemn them in the face of God.

When Defarge had finished reading, a terrible sound rose from the crowd, a long wild cry of anger and revenge. Death for the hated Marquis of Evremonde, enemy of the people! The trial was over, and in less than twenty-four hours Charles Darnay would go to the Guillotine.

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