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A Tale of Two Cities

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He closed the lattice again with a fluttering heart, closed the window and the curtain, hastened to Lucie, and told her that her father was assisted by the people, and gone in search of her husband. He found her child and Miss Pross with her; but, it never occurred to him to be surprised by their appearance until a long time afterwards, when he sat watching them in such quiet as the night knew. Mr. Lorry closed the lattice blind again. His heart was beating fast. He closed the window and the curtain and rushed to Lucie, and he told her that her father was being helped by the people and had gone to look for her husband. He found her daughter and Miss Pross there with her. It never occurred to him that seeing them there should have surprised him until much later, when he sat watching them in the relative quiet of the night.
Lucie had, by that time, fallen into a stupor on the floor at his feet, clinging to his hand. Miss Pross had laid the child down on his own bed, and her head had gradually fallen on the pillow beside her pretty charge. O the long, long night, with the moans of the poor wife! And O the long, long night, with no return of her father and no tidings! By that time, Lucie had fallen asleep on the floor at his feet, still holding his hand. Miss Pross had laid the child down on Mr. Lorry’s bed, where her head had gradually fallen onto the pillow next to Lucie. Oh, the long, long night, with Lucie crying out for her husband! Oh, the long night, with her father still gone and no word of how he was doing.
Twice more in the darkness the bell at the great gate sounded, and the irruption was repeated, and the grindstone whirled and spluttered. “What is it?” cried Lucie, affrighted. “Hush! The soldiers’ swords are sharpened there,” said Mr. Lorry. “The place is national property now, and used as a kind of armoury, my love.” The bell at the front gate rang twice more during the night. Again a crowd of people rushed in and used the grindstone. “What is it?” cried Lucie, frightened. “Quiet! They sharpen the solders’ swords there,” said Mr. Lorry. “This house is national property now and is used as a kind of

armory

a building in which weapons are stored

armory
.”
Twice more in all; but, the last spell of work was feeble and fitful. Soon afterwards the day began to dawn, and he softly detached himself from the clasping hand, and cautiously looked out again. A man, so besmeared that he might have been a sorely wounded soldier creeping back to consciousness on a field of slain, was rising from the pavement by the side of the grindstone, and looking about him with a vacant air. Shortly, this worn-out murderer descried in the imperfect light one of the carriages of Monseigneur, and, staggering to that gorgeous vehicle, climbed in at the door, and shut himself up to take his rest on its dainty cushions. It happened twice more, but the last time they came the crowd was smaller. Soon afterward, the sun began to come up. Mr. Lorry released himself softly from Lucie’s grasp and cautiously looked out the window again. A man was getting up from the pavement beside the grindstone. He was so covered with blood that he looked like a badly wounded soldier, regaining consciousness on a battlefield covered with dead bodies. He looked around him with an empty stare. Soon the exhausted killer noticed one of the monseigneur’s carriages in the weak daylight. He staggered over to the gorgeous vehicle, climbed into it, shut the door, and went to sleep on its dainty cushions.
The great grindstone, Earth, had turned when Mr. Lorry looked out again, and the sun was red on the courtyard. But, the lesser grindstone stood alone there in the calm morning air, with a red upon it that the sun had never given, and would never take away. It was later in the day when Mr. Lorry looked out the window again. The sun was shining red on the courtyard, and the grindstone was still standing there alone in the morning air, covered in blood that would never come off.

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