To her father himself, he wrote in the same strain; but, he told her father
that he expressly confided his wife and child to his care. And he told him this,
very strongly, with the hope of rousing him from any despondency or dangerous
retrospect towards which he foresaw he might be tending.
He wrote a similar letter to Dr. Manette, telling the doctor specifically that
he left Lucie and their daughter in his care. He was very adamant about this and
hoped this responsibility would lift him out of any hopelessness or dangerous
reflection that Darnay thought he might fall into.
To Mr. Lorry, he commended them all, and explained his worldly affairs. That
done, with many added sentences of grateful friendship and warm attachment, all
was done. He never thought of Carton. His mind was so full of the others, that
he never once thought of him.
He wrote to Mr. Lorry and told him to take care of all of them. He also
explained all his personal and business affairs. After that was done, he thanked
him for his friendship and affection. Then he was done. He never thought about
Mr. Carton. He was so focused on the others that he didn’t even think of him
He had time to finish these letters before the lights were put out. When he
lay down on his straw bed, he thought he had done with this world.
He had time to finish these letters before the lamps were all put out. When he
lied down on his straw bed, he thought that his life was over.
But, it beckoned him back in his sleep, and showed itself in shining forms.
Free and happy, back in the old house in Soho (though it had nothing in it like
the real house), unaccountably released and light of heart, he was with Lucie
again, and she told him it was all a dream, and he had never gone away. A pause
of forgetfulness, and then he had even suffered, and had come back to her, dead
and at peace, and yet there was no difference in him. Another pause of oblivion,
and he awoke in the sombre morning, unconscious where he was or what had
happened, until it flashed upon his mind, “this is the day of my death!”
But his life came back to him while he slept, and showed itself in happy
memories. He saw himself free and happy back in the old house in Soho (though it
had nothing in it that looked like the interior of the real house). He was
completely free and lighthearted, with Lucie again. She told him it was all a
dream and he had never left London. He slept without dreaming for a while, and
then he dreamt he had been killed and had come back to her, dead and at peace,
and yet he had not changed at all. He slept without dreaming again for a while,
and he woke up in the morning. He didn’t know where he was or what had happened,
until it flashed in his mind, “This is the day I am going to die.”
Thus, had he come through the hours, to the day when the fifty-two heads were
to fall. And now, while he was composed, and hoped that he could meet the end
with quiet heroism, a new action began in his waking thoughts, which was very
difficult to master.
This is how he spent the hours leading up to the day when fifty-two people
were to have their heads cut off. He was calm now and hoped that he could face
his death with quiet bravery. But a new idea came to him that made this very
difficult to do.
He had never seen the instrument that was to terminate his life. How high it
was from the ground, how many steps it had, where he would be stood, how he
would be touched, whether the touching hands would be dyed red, which way his
face would be turned, whether he would be the first, or might be the last: these
and many similar questions, in nowise directed by his will, obtruded themselves
over and over again, countless times. Neither were they connected with fear: he
was conscious of no fear. Rather, they originated in a strange besetting desire
to know what to do when the time came; a desire gigantically disproportionate to
the few swift moments to which it referred; a wondering that was more like the
wondering of some other spirit within his, than his own.
He had never seen the guillotine before. He hadn’t seen how high it was off
the ground, how many steps it had, or where he would stand. He didn’t know how
the executioner would treat him or whether the executioner’s hands would be
stained with blood. He didn’t know which way his face would be turned or whether
he would be the first person or the last person to die that day. These and many
similar questions forced their way into his mind over and over again. They
weren’t connected with any feelings of fear fear. He wasn’t aware of being
afraid at all. Instead, they came from wanting to know what to do when the time
came. His worry was greatly out of proportion with the few quick moments that he
would actually be there. It was like another spirit inside of him other than his
own was wondering about this.
The hours went on as he walked to and fro, and the clocks struck the numbers
he would never hear again. Nine gone for ever, ten gone for ever, eleven gone
for ever, twelve coming on to pass away. After a hard contest with that
eccentric action of thought which had last perplexed him, he had got the better
of it. He walked up and down, softly repeating their names to himself. The worst
of the strife was over. He could walk up and down, free from distracting
fancies, praying for himself and for them.
The hours passed as he paced back and forth, and the clocks struck numbers he
would never hear again: nine gone forever, ten gone forever, eleven gone
forever, and twelve was on its way. After struggling hard with this strange,
disturbing thought, he got the better of it. He paced up and down, softly
repeating his loved ones’ names to himself. The worst of his suffering was over.
He could walk up and down, free from distracting thoughts, praying for himself
and for them.