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A Tale of Two Cities

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Naturally struck by the disagreeable word, Charles Darnay requested the speaker to take notice that he was a free traveller and French citizen, in charge of an escort which the disturbed state of the country had imposed upon him, and which he had paid for. Charles Darnay naturally noticed their use of the word prisoner. He asked the man to recognize that he was a free traveler and a French citizen. He told him that the dangerous situation in the country made it necessary for him to travel with an escort, and that he had paid these men to escort him.
“Where,” repeated the same personage, without taking any heed of him whatever, “are the papers of this prisoner?” “Where are the prisoner’s paper?” repeated the man, ignoring him.
The drunken patriot had them in his cap, and produced them. Casting his eyes over Gabelle’s letter, the same personage in authority showed some disorder and surprise, and looked at Darnay with a close attention. The drunken patriot took Darnay’s papers out of his cap. Looking over Gabelle’s letter, the same man in charge seemed surprised. He looked at Darnay carefully.
He left escort and escorted without saying a word, however, and went into the guard-room; meanwhile, they sat upon their horses outside the gate. Looking about him while in this state of suspense, Charles Darnay observed that the gate was held by a mixed guard of soldiers and patriots, the latter far outnumbering the former; and that while ingress into the city for peasants’ carts bringing in supplies, and for similar traffic and traffickers, was easy enough, egress, even for the homeliest people, was very difficult. A numerous medley of men and women, not to mention beasts and vehicles of various sorts, was waiting to issue forth; but, the previous identification was so strict, that they filtered through the barrier very slowly. Some of these people knew their turn for examination to be so far off, that they lay down on the ground to sleep or smoke, while others talked together, or loitered about. The red cap and tri-colour cockade were universal, both among men and women. He left Darnay and the escorts without saying a word and went into the guardroom. They sat on their horses and waited for him outside the gate. As he looked around while waiting anxiously, Charles Darnay saw that the gate was being guarded by a combination of soldiers and citizens, with citizens far outnumbering the soldiers. While the entrance into the city for peasants with carts full of supplies and other such traffic was easy to get though, the exit, even for the poorest peasants, was very difficult. A large group of men and women, not to mention animals and vehicles of various kinds, was waiting to leave. It took so long to check their identification that they moved through the barrier very slowly. Some of these people knew that they had so long to wait before they were questioned that they were lying on the ground sleeping or smoking. Others chatted together or hung around. Every man and woman wore a red cap and a three-colored cockade.
When he had sat in his saddle some half-hour, taking note of these things, Darnay found himself confronted by the same man in authority, who directed the guard to open the barrier. Then he delivered to the escort, drunk and sober, a receipt for the escorted, and requested him to dismount. He did so, and the two patriots, leading his tired horse, turned and rode away without entering the city. After Darnay had waited on his horse for half an hour noticing these things, the same man in charge came out and told the guard to open the barrier. Then he gave the drunken sober escorts a receipt for Darnay and asked Darnay to get down off his horse. He did so, and the two escorts, leading Darnay’s tired horse, turned and rode away without entering the city.
He accompanied his conductor into a guard-room, smelling of common wine and tobacco, where certain soldiers and patriots, asleep and awake, drunk and sober, and in various neutral states between sleeping and waking, drunkenness and sobriety, were standing and lying about. The light in the guard-house, half derived from the waning oil-lamps of the night, and half from the overcast day, was in a correspondingly uncertain condition. Some registers were lying open on a desk, and an officer of a coarse, dark aspect, presided over these. He went with the guard into a guardroom. It smelled of wine and cigarette smoke, and there were several soldiers and citizens there, standing or lying around. Some were sleeping, some were awake, some were drunk, and some were sober. Some were in various states between asleep and awake, or drunk and sober. The light in the guardhouse came partly from the fading oil lamps and partly from the overcast day. Some books of lists were lying open on a desk, and a rough, dark-looking officer was in charge of these.
“Citizen Defarge,” said he to Darnay’s conductor, as he took a slip of paper to write on. “Is this the emigrant Evremonde?” “Citizen Defarge,” the officer said to the guard escorting Darnay as he took out a slip of paper to write on. “Is this the emigrant Evremonde?”
“This is the man.” “This is the man.”
“Your age, Evremonde?” “How old are you, Evremonde?”
“Thirty-seven.” “Thirty-seven.”
“Married, Evremonde?” “Are you married, Evremonde?”
“Yes.” “Yes.”
“Where married?” “Where were you married?”
“In England.” “In England.”
“Without doubt. Where is your wife, Evremonde?” “Of course you were. Where is your wife, Evremonde?”
“In England.” “She is in England.”
“Without doubt. You are consigned, Evremonde, to the prison of La Force.” “Of course she is. You will be sent to La Force Prison, Evremonde.”
“Just Heaven!” exclaimed Darnay. “Under what law, and for what offence?” “By Heaven!” exclaimed Darnay. “Under what law, and for what crime?”
The officer looked up from his slip of paper for a moment. The officer looked up from his slip of paper for a moment.

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