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A Tale of Two Cities

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“If it had pleased GOD to put it in the hard heart of either of the brothers, in all these frightful years, to grant me any tidings of my dearest wife—so much as to let me know by a word whether alive or dead—I might have thought that He had not quite abandoned them. But, now I believe that the mark of the red cross is fatal to them, and that they have no part in His mercies. And them and their descendants, to the last of their race, I, Alexandre Manette, unhappy prisoner, do this last night of the year 1767, in my unbearable agony, denounce to the times when all these things shall be answered for. I denounce them to Heaven and to earth.” “If God had put it in the heart of either of the brothers, in all these frightening years, to give me any news of how my wife is doing—even just to know if she were alive or dead—I might have thought that God hadn’t abandoned them. But now I believe that the mark of the cross that the dying boy had made with his blood is fatal to them, and that they will not receive His mercy. I, Alexandre Manette, a sad prisoner, do tonight, December 31st, 1767, in my unbearable suffering, denounce the Evremonde brothers and all their descendants to the last of their family, to the time when these things will be answered for. I denounce them to Heaven and Earth.”
A terrible sound arose when the reading of this document was done. A sound of craving and eagerness that had nothing articulate in it but blood. The narrative called up the most revengeful passions of the time, and there was not a head in the nation but must have dropped before it. A terrible sound was heard when the reading of the document had finished—an eager, hungry, blood-chilling scream. The story called up the most revengeful passions of the time, and every head in all of France dropped before it.
Little need, in presence of that tribunal and that auditory, to show how the Defarges had not made the paper public, with the other captured Bastille memorials borne in procession, and had kept it, biding their time. Little need to show that this detested family name had long been anathematised by Saint Antoine, and was wrought into the fatal register. The man never trod ground whose virtues and services would have sustained him in that place that day, against such denunciation. There was no need, in front of that tribunal, and with that terrible sound, to show that the Defarges had hidden that paper and not made it public. That they had put it with the other items taken from the Bastille that were paraded around and had kept it, waiting for the right time. There was no need to show that the family of Evremonde had been hated for a long time by the people of Saint Antoine, and was on the list of people to be executed. There is no man alive whose virtues would have saved him against such denunciation.
And all the worse for the doomed man, that the denouncer was a well-known citizen, his own attached friend, the father of his wife. One of the frenzied aspirations of the populace was, for imitations of the questionable public virtues of antiquity, and for sacrifices and self-immolations on the people’s altar. Therefore when the President said (else had his own head quivered on his shoulders), that the good physician of the Republic would deserve better still of the Republic by rooting out an obnoxious family of Aristocrats, and would doubtless feel a sacred glow and joy in making his daughter a widow and her child an orphan, there was wild excitement, patriotic fervour, not a touch of human sympathy. It was that much worse for Darnay that Dr. Manette, the man who was denouncing him, was a well-known citizen, his own friend, and the father of his wife. One of the hopes of the people was to imitate the questionable virtues of ancient times and for people to sacrifice themselves for the good of the public. Therefore, the president said (or else his own head would have been in danger of being cut off) that the good doctor would help the Republic even more by destroying an obnoxious family of aristocrats, and that he would doubtlessly glow with joy and pride by making his daughter a widow and her child an orphan. At that, the crowd went wild with excitement and patriotic passion, and there was not a touch of human sympathy among them.
“Much influence around him, has that Doctor?” murmured Madame Defarge, smiling to The Vengeance. “Save him now, my Doctor, save him!” “The doctor has a lot of influence, does he?” murmured Madame Defarge, smiling to The Vengeance. “Let’s see if you can save him now, Doctor!”
At every juryman’s vote, there was a roar. Another and another. Roar and roar. The crowd roared every time one of the members of the jury voted. Another and another, roar after roar.
Unanimously voted. At heart and by descent an Aristocrat, an enemy of the Republic, a notorious oppressor of the People. Back to the Conciergerie, and Death within four-and-twenty hours! The vote was unanimous. He was an aristocrat, by family and in his heart. He was an enemy of the Republic and an oppressor of the people. They voted to send him back to the Conciergerie and executed within the next twenty-four hours!

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