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A Tale of Two Cities

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There is a guard of sundry horsemen riding abreast of the tumbrils, and faces are often turned up to some of them, and they are asked some question. It would seem to be always the same question, for, it is always followed by a press of people towards the third cart. The horsemen abreast of that cart, frequently point out one man in it with their swords. The leading curiosity is, to know which is he; he stands at the back of the tumbril with his head bent down, to converse with a mere girl who sits on the side of the cart, and holds his hand. He has no curiosity or care for the scene about him, and always speaks to the girl. Here and there in the long street of St. Honore, cries are raised against him. If they move him at all, it is only to a quiet smile, as he shakes his hair a little more loosely about his face. He cannot easily touch his face, his arms being bound. There is a group of horsemen riding alongside the tumbrils. People in the crowd often look up at them and ask them questions. It always seems to be the same question, for after the question is asked, people rush over to the third cart. The horsemen beside that cart often point out one man in it with their swords. Everyone wants to know who he is. He is standing at the back of the tumbril with his head down, talking to a peasant girl who sits next to him in the cart and holds his hand. He doesn’t care about what’s happening around him and always talks to the girl. People all along St. Honore Street yell at him. He only smiles quietly, if he reacts at all, and shakes his hair a little more loosely over his face. His arms are tied, so he can’t touch his face.
On the steps of a church, awaiting the coming-up of the tumbrils, stands the Spy and prison-sheep. He looks into the first of them: not there. He looks into the second: not there. He already asks himself, “Has he sacrificed me?” when his face clears, as he looks into the third. Barsad and the other prison spies wait for the tumbrils on the steps of the church. He looks into the first tumbril, but he’s not there. He looks into the second one too, but he’s not there. He’s already wondering, “Has he betrayed me?” Then he looks into the third tumbril and feels relieved as he sees him.
“Which is Evremonde?” says a man behind him. “Which one is Evremonde?” asks a man behind him.
“That. At the back there.” “That one. At the back there.”
“With his hand in the girl’s?” “Holding the girl’s hand?”
“Yes.” “Yes.”
The man cries, “Down, Evremonde! To the Guillotine all aristocrats! Down, Evremonde!” The man yells, “Down with Evremonde! Send all aristocrats to the guillotine! Down with Evremonde!”
“Hush, hush!” the Spy entreats him, timidly. “Hush, hush!” Barsad says to him timidly.
“And why not, citizen?” “And why not, citizen?”
“He is going to pay the forfeit: it will be paid in five minutes more. Let him be at peace.” “He’s going to pay for his crimes. He will be dead in five minutes. Leave him alone.”
But the man continuing to exclaim, “Down, Evremonde!” the face of Evremonde is for a moment turned towards him. Evremonde then sees the Spy, and looks attentively at him, and goes his way. But the man continues to yell, “Down with Evremonde!” Carton, pretending to be Evremonde, turns toward the man for a moment. Then Carton sees Barsad. He looks at him carefully, and goes his way.
The clocks are on the stroke of three, and the furrow ploughed among the populace is turning round, to come on into the place of execution, and end. The ridges thrown to this side and to that, now crumble in and close behind the last plough as it passes on, for all are following to the Guillotine. In front of it, seated in chairs, as in a garden of public diversion, are a number of women, busily knitting. On one of the fore-most chairs, stands The Vengeance, looking about for her friend. The clocks are striking three. The carts are pushing through the crowd the other way and arriving at the place where people are executed. The people who have moved out of the way of the carts on either side now crowd in behind the last cart as it moves on, for they are all following to the guillotine. In front of it, a number of women sit in chairs as if they were in a public garden. They are busy knitting. The Vengeance is standing on one of the chairs in the front looking around for Madame Defarge.
“Therese!” she cries, in her shrill tones. “Who has seen her? Therese Defarge!” “Therese!” she yells in her shrill voice. “Has anyone seen her? Therese Defarge!”
“She never missed before,” says a knitting-woman of the sisterhood. “She’s never missed an execution before,” says another of the knitting women.
“No; nor will she miss now,” cries The Vengeance, petulantly. “Therese.” “No, and she won’t miss it now,” yells The Vengeance sullenly.
“Louder,” the woman recommends. “Yell louder,” suggests the other woman.
Ay! Louder, Vengeance, much louder, and still she will scarcely hear thee. Louder yet, Vengeance, with a little oath or so added, and yet it will hardly bring her. Send other women up and down to seek her, lingering somewhere; and yet, although the messengers have done dread deeds, it is questionable whether of their own wills they will go far enough to find her! Yes! Yell louder, Vengeance. Yell much louder and she won’t come. Yell even louder, Vengeance, and yell a little oath with it, and she still won’t come. Send other women all over to look for her. And yet, even though the people you send have done terrible things, it’s doubtful they will be willing to die to find her!

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