فصل 08

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فصل 08

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CHAPTER EIGHT

In the hands of the citizens

Tellson’s Bank in Paris was in a large building south of the river, close to the heart of the city. Mr Lorry had arrived in Paris some days before Charles Darnay, and was now living in some rooms above the bank. One evening, looking out of the window, he saw that a large grindstone had been brought into the square below. There was a wild, shouting crowd around it, busy sharpening their knives and swords and axes, which were already red with blood. With shaking hands, Mr Lorry closed the window.

He had decided to go downstairs and talk to the bank guards, when suddenly the door of his room opened, and Lucie and her father ran in.

‘Lucie! Manette! “What has happened? Why are you here?’ cried Mr Lorry.

‘Charles is in Paris,’ cried Lucie. ‘He came to help an old family servant. But he’s been taken to prison.’

At that moment the shouts of the crowd outside grew louder.

‘What is that noise?’ asked the Doctor.

‘Don’t look out!’ cried Mr Lorry.

‘My friend,’ said the Doctor. ‘I am safe in Paris. I was a prisoner in the Bastille. Everybody knows about me and how I suffered. Already people want to help me; they gave us news of Charles.’

‘Even so, don’t look outside. Where is Charles?’

‘In the prison of La Force.’

‘La Force! Dear Lucie, you can do nothing tonight. You must go to one of the rooms here and wait. I must talk with your father at once.’

Lucie kissed him and left the room.

‘Quick, Manette,’ said Mr Lorry. ‘These people outside, with their bloody knives, are murdering the prisoners. If you are so well known, if you have this power, talk to them. Tell them who you are, and go to La Force. Quick, before it is too late!’

Dr Manette hurried outside. Mr Lorry watched from the window as the Doctor talked to the crowd. He heard shouts of ‘Long live the Bastille prisoner! Help his friend in La Force!’

Mr Lorry went to Lucie and found her with her daughter and Miss Pross. Together they waited all night for news, but none came.

In the morning Mr Lorry found rooms for Lucie and her family in a quiet street near the bank. He left Jerry Cruncher with them as a guard, and returned worriedly to Tellson’s. At the end of the day a strong, serious man came to see him.

‘My name is Defarge. I come from Dr Manette; he gave me this.’ Defarge gave him a piece of paper.

The Doctor had written, Charles is safe, but I cannot leave this place yet. Take Defarge to Lucie.

‘Come with me,’ said Mr Lorry happily. They went downstairs and at the front door found Madame Defarge, knitting. Without a word, she joined them, and Mr Lorry led them to Lucie’s rooms.

There, Defarge gave Lucie a note from her husband.

Dearest - be brave. I am well, and your father has some power here. You cannot answer this, but kiss our child for me.

Only a short letter, but it meant so much to Lucie. Gratefully, she kissed the hands of Defarge and his wife. Madame Defarge said nothing; her hand was cold and heavy, and Lucie felt frightened of her.

Miss Pross came in with little Lucie.

‘Is that his child?’ asked Madame Defarge, stopping her knitting to stare.

‘Yes, Madame,’ said Mr Lorry. ‘That is our poor prisoner’s little daughter.’

‘It is enough, my husband,’ said Madame Defarge. ‘We can go now.’ Her voice was as cold as her hand.

‘You will be good to my husband?’ asked Lucie, afraid. ‘I beg you, as a wife and mother.’

‘We have known many wives and mothers,’ said Madame Defarge. ‘And we have seen many husbands and fathers put in prison, for many years. What is one more, among so many?’

As the Defarges left, Lucie turned to Mr Lorry. ‘I am more afraid of her than of any other person in Paris,’ she whispered. Mr Lorry held her hands; he did not say anything, but he was also very worried.

The Doctor did not come back from La Force for several days. During that time eleven hundred prisoners were killed by the people. Inside the prison Dr Manette had come before a Tribunal, which was a group of judges appointed by the people. These judges made their own laws and threw prisoners out into the streets to be murdered by the crowds. Dr Manette told the Tribunal that he had been a prisoner in the Bastille for eighteen years, and that his son-in-law was now a prisoner in La Force. The Tribunal had agreed to keep Charles Darnay safe from the murdering crowds, but they would not let him leave the prison.

Dr Manette seemed to become stronger as he lived through these terrible days, doing everything he could to save his daughter’s husband. He was able to see Darnay regularly, but noblemen and emigrants were hated by the citizens of new France, and the Doctor could not set Darnay free. The Guillotine, that new machine of death, cut off the heads of many, many people - the powerful and the cruel, but also the beautiful, the innocent, and the good. Each day Lucie did not know if her husband would live or die. She lived every moment in great fear, but her father was sure that he could save his son- in-law.

One year and three months passed and Darnay was still in prison. Dr Manette now had an official job as doctor to three prisons and was able to visit Darnay regularly. He became more and more loved by the rough people of the Revolution. But the Guillotine continued to kill.

‘Try not to worry,’ he told Lucie. ‘Nothing can happen to Charles. I know that I can save him.’ But Lucie could not see him or visit him; she could not even write to him.

On the day when Charles Darnay was at last called for his trial, Lucie and Dr Manette hurried to Tellson’s Bank to tell Mr Lorry. As they arrived, a man got up and disappeared into another room. They did not see who it was, but in fact it was Sydney Carton, just arrived from London.

There were five judges in the Tribunal, and the trials were short and simple. The voices of truth, honesty, and calm reason were never heard at these trials, and most of the prisoners were sent to the Guillotine, which pleased the noisy crowds. Fifteen prisoners were called before Darnay that day, and in no more than an hour and a half, all of them had been condemned to death.

‘Charles Evremonde, who is called Darnay.’

As Darnay walked in front of the judges, he tried to remember the careful advice that Dr Manette had given him.

‘Charles Evremonde, you are an emigrant. All emigrants must die. That is the new law of France.’

‘Kill him!’ shouted the people. ‘Cut off his head! He’s an enemy of the people!’

The President of the judges asked Darnay, ‘Is it true that you lived many years in England?’

‘Yes, that is true,’ replied Darnay.

‘So you are an emigrant, surely.’

‘No, not in the meaning of the law,’ replied Darnay. ‘I earn my own living in England. I have never wanted or used the name of Marquis, and I did not want to live by the work of the poor people of France. So I went to live and work in England, long before the Revolution.’

‘And did you marry in England?’

‘Yes, I married a Frenchwoman. The daughter of Dr Manette, a prisoner of the Bastille and a well-known friend of all good citizens!’

These words had a happy effect on the crowd. Those who had shouted for his death now shouted for his life. Then Monsieur Gabelle and Dr Manette spoke for Charles Darnay. The Doctor spoke well and clearly, and was very popular with the crowd. When he had finished, the judges decided that the prisoner should be set free, and the crowd shouted their agreement loudly. Soon they were carrying Darnay in a chair through the streets of Paris to Dr Manette’s house. Lucie was waiting there, and when she ran out and fell into the arms of her husband, the men and women in the crowd kissed one another and danced for happiness. Darnay and Lucie were together again, safe and happy.

‘I told you that I would save him,’ said Lucie’s father proudly. ‘Well, I have saved him, and you must not worry now.’

But Lucie was still worried. So many innocent men and women had died, for no reason, and every day brought more deaths. A shadow of fear and hate lay over France, and no one knew what dangers the next day would bring.

It was not possible to leave Paris at once, as Charles did not have the necessary papers. They must live quietly, and hope to leave as soon as they could.

But that night, when Dr Manette, Charles and Lucie were sitting together, they heard a loud knock at the door.

‘What can this be?’ said Lucie, trembling. ‘Hide Charles! Save him!’

‘My child,’ said the Doctor, ‘I have saved him. He is a free man!’

But when he opened the door, four rough men pushed their way into the room.

‘The Citizen Evremonde, where is he? He is again the prisoner of the people.’

‘I am here,’ said Darnay. ‘But why am I again a prisoner?’

‘You are accused by citizens of Saint Antoine.’

Dr Manette had said nothing. He seemed to be made of stone, but suddenly he spoke.

‘Will you tell me who has accused my son-in-law?’

‘I shouldn’t tell you this,’ said one of the men, ‘but Citizen Evremonde, called Darnay, is accused by Monsieur and Madame Defarge, and by one other person.’

‘What other?’

‘You will hear that tomorrow,’ replied the man.

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