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A Tale of Two Cities

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Mr. Stryver then called his few witnesses, and Mr. Cruncher had next to attend while Mr. Attorney-General turned the whole suit of clothes Mr. Stryver had fitted on the jury, inside out; showing how Barsad and Cly were even a hundred times better than he had thought them, and the prisoner a hundred times worse. Lastly, came my Lord himself, turning the suit of clothes, now inside out, now outside in, but on the whole decidedly trimming and shaping them into grave-clothes for the prisoner. Mr. Stryver then called a few witnesses. Mr. Cruncher listened while the attorney general told the jury that everything Mr. Stryver had told them was wrong. Barsad and Cly were better men than he had originally thought, and the prisoner was a much worse man than he had originally thought. Finally, the judge himself spoke. He said some things in favor of the prisoner, and other things against him. Overall, his remarks made the prisoner appear to be guilty.
And now, the jury turned to consider, and the great flies swarmed again. At this point, the jury gathered to discuss their verdict. The courtroom buzzed with conversation.
Mr. Carton, who had so long sat looking at the ceiling of the court, changed neither his place nor his attitude, even in this excitement. While his teamed friend, Mr. Stryver, massing his papers before him, whispered with those who sat near, and from time to time glanced anxiously at the jury; while all the spectators moved more or less, and grouped themselves anew; while even my Lord himself arose from his seat, and slowly paced up and down his platform, not unattended by a suspicion in the minds of the audience that his state was feverish; this one man sat leaning back, with his torn gown half off him, his untidy wig put on just as it had happened to fight on his head after its removal, his hands in his pockets, and his eyes on the ceiling as they had been all day. Something especially reckless in his demeanour, not only gave him a disreputable look, but so diminished the strong resemblance he undoubtedly bore to the prisoner (which his momentary earnestness, when they were compared together, had strengthened), that many of the lookers-on, taking note of him now, said to one another they would hardly have thought the two were so alike. Mr. Cruncher made the observation to his next neighbour, and added, “I’d hold half a guinea that HE don’t get no law-work to do. Don’t look like the sort of one to get any, do he?” Mr. Carton, who had been staring at the ceiling for some time, didn’t move or change his expression, even amid the excitement. Meanwhile, Mr. Stryver piled up the papers in front of him and whispered with the people near him. Occasionally he glanced anxiously at the jury. The crowd milled about. The judge got up from his seat and paced back and forth on his platform. But Carton sat there, leaning back with his torn gown half on, his messy wig placed sloppily on his head, his hands in his pockets, and his eyes turned to the ceiling. There was something reckless and dishonorable about him. He was so disheveled that he didn’t look as much like the prisoner as he had before, when he had been serious for a moment. Many in the crowd now said that they didn’t look so much alike after all. Mr. Cruncher commented to the man next to him, “I bet he doesn’t get any work as a lawyer. He doesn’t look like the type to get any, does he?”
Yet, this Mr. Carton took in more of the details of the scene than he appeared to take in; for now, when Miss Manette’s head dropped upon her father’s breast, he was the first to see it, and to say audibly: “Officer! look to that young lady. Help the gentleman to take her out. Don’t you see she will fall!” But Mr. Carton was paying closer attention to the scene than it appeared. When Miss Manette dropped her head onto her father’s chest, he was the first person to say loudly, “Officer! Assist that young woman. Help the gentleman take her out of the room. Can’t you see she’s about to faint?”
There was much commiseration for her as she was removed, and much sympathy with her father. It had evidently been a great distress to him, to have the days of his imprisonment recalled. He had shown strong internal agitation when he was questioned, and that pondering or brooding look which made him old, had been upon him, like a heavy cloud, ever since. As he passed out, the jury, who had turned back and paused a moment, spoke, through their foreman. The crowd was very sympathetic to her and her father as they left the courtroom. It had apparently been very stressful for him to think back on his time in prison. The questioning had clearly upset him, and that thoughtful or brooding expression that made him look older had been on his face ever since. As he was leaving, the foreman spoke on behalf of the jury, who were once again facing forward.
They were not agreed, and wished to retire. My Lord (perhaps with George Washington on his mind) showed some surprise that they were not agreed, but signified his pleasure that they should retire under watch and ward, and retired himself. The trial had lasted all day, and the lamps in the court were now being lighted. It began to be rumoured that the jury would be out a long while. The spectators dropped off to get refreshment, and the prisoner withdrew to the back of the dock, and sat down. The jury had not come to a decision and wanted to go away to deliberate further. The judge, perhaps thinking about the prisoner’s comment about George Washington, was surprised. But he signaled that they could go away under careful supervision, then he left the courtroom himself. The trial had lasted all day and the lamps in the court were being lit. A rumor spread that the jury would be deliberating for a long time. The spectators took a break and left the courtroom, and the prisoner moved to the back of the dock and sat down.

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