Charles Darnay felt it hopeless to entreat him further, and his pride was
touched besides. As they walked on in silence, he could not but see how used the
people were to the spectacle of prisoners passing along the streets. The very
children scarcely noticed him. A few passers turned their heads, and a few shook
their fingers at him as an aristocrat; otherwise, that a man in good clothes
should be going to prison, was no more remarkable than that a labourer in
working clothes should be going to work. In one narrow, dark, and dirty street
through which they passed, an excited orator, mounted on a stool, was addressing
an excited audience on the crimes against the people, of the king and the royal
family. The few words that he caught from this man’s lips, first made it known
to Charles Darnay that the king was in prison, and that the foreign ambassadors
had one and all left Paris. On the road (except at Beauvais) he had heard
absolutely nothing. The escort and the universal watchfulness had completely
Charles Darnay felt that it was hopeless to beg him anymore, and he was also
too proud to do so. As they walked on in silence, he couldn’t help noticing how
the people seemed to be used to seeing prisoners moving through the streets.
Even the children barely noticed him. A few people passing by turned to look at
him, and a few shook their fingers at him for being an aristocrat. But
otherwise, the fact that a well-dressed man was going to prison was no more
special than if a man in work clothes should be going to work. In one narrow,
dark, and dirty street that they passed through, an excited speaker was standing
on a stool and speaking to an excited audience about crimes against the people
of the king and the royal family. The few words that Charles Darnay heard the
man say let him know that the king was in prison and that all the foreign
ambassadors had left Paris. Except for when he had been in Beauvais, he had
heard no news on the road. His escort and the fact that he was so closely
watched had isolated him.
That he had fallen among far greater dangers than those which had developed
themselves when he left England, he of course knew now. That perils had
thickened about him fast, and might thicken faster and faster yet, he of course
knew now. He could not but admit to himself that he might not have made this
journey, if he could have foreseen the events of a few days. And yet his
misgivings were not so dark as, imagined by the light of this later time, they
would appear. Troubled as the future was, it was the unknown future, and in its
obscurity there was ignorant hope. The horrible massacre, days and nights long,
which, within a few rounds of the clock, was to set a great mark of blood upon
the blessed garnering time of harvest, was as far out of his knowledge as if it
had been a hundred thousand years away. The “sharp female newly-born, and called
La Guillotine,” was hardly known to him, or to the generality of people, by
name. The frightful deeds that were to be soon done, were probably unimagined at
that time in the brains of the doers. How could they have a place in the shadowy
conceptions of a gentle mind?
He knew now that France was a much more dangerous place for him currently than
it had been when he had left England. He knew that danger had come upon him
quickly and that things might get more and more dangerous for him. He had to
admit to himself that he might not have come if he had known what would happen.
And yet his concerns weren’t as ominous as you would think, looking back on it
from this happier time. Troubled as his future was, he didn’t know his future.
He knew so little about the coming massacre—a horrible massacre that would go on
for days and nights and that would taint the gathering time of the harvest with
bloodshed—it could have been a hundred thousand years away. The new invention of
the guillotine was hardly known by name to him, or the people of France. The
terrible things that would soon be done probably didn’t even exist in the minds
of the people who would do them yet. How could gentle people imagine such
Of unjust treatment in detention and hardship, and in cruel separation from
his wife and child, he foreshadowed the likelihood, or the certainty; but,
beyond this, he dreaded nothing distinctly. With this on his mind, which was
enough to carry into a dreary prison courtyard, he arrived at the prison of La
He had expected to be treated harshly and possibly detained. He expected to
miss his wife and child. But beyond this, he wasn’t afraid of anything specific.
These were his thoughts as he arrived at La Force Prison.
A man with a bloated face opened the strong wicket, to whom Defarge presented
“The Emigrant Evremonde.”
A man with a swollen face opened a small window in the door of the prison.
Defarge told him, “This is the emigrant Evremonde.”
“What the Devil! How many more of them!” exclaimed the man with the bloated
“What the devil! How many more of them are there?” exclaimed the man with the
Defarge took his receipt without noticing the exclamation, and withdrew, with
his two fellow-patriots.
Defarge ignored the man’s comment and took a receipt from him. He left with
the two citizen guards.
“What the Devil, I say again!” exclaimed the gaoler, left with his wife. “How
“I say again, what the devil!” exclaimed the jailer to his wife. “How many