A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens
No Fear Book 3 Chapter 10
No Fear Book 3 Chapter 10: The Substance of the Shadow: Page 7

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“I did so, raising the boy’s head against my knee. But, invested for the moment with extraordinary power, he raised himself completely: obliging me to rise too, or I could not have still supported him. “I did so, raising the boy’s head against my knee. But with a sudden surge of strength, he raised himself up completely. I had to rise too or I could not have supported him.
“‘Marquis,’ said the boy, turned to him with his eyes opened wide, and his right hand raised, ‘in the days when all these things are to be answered for, I summon you and yours, to the last of your bad race, to answer for them. I mark this cross of blood upon you, as a sign that I do it. In the days when all these things are to be answered for, I summon your brother, the worst of the bad race, to answer for them separately. I mark this cross of blood upon him, as a sign that I do it.’ “‘Marquis,’ said the boy, turned toward him with his eyes opened wide and his right hand raised. ‘When the time comes when all things are answered for, I call you and your descendants, to the very end of your family line, to answer for them. I mark you with this cross of blood to show what I do. When the time comes when these things are to be answered for, I call your brother, the worst of your terrible family, to answer for them on his own. I mark him with this cross of blood to show what I do.’
“Twice, he put his hand to the wound in his breast, and with his forefinger drew a cross in the air. He stood for an instant with the finger yet raised, and as it dropped, he dropped with it, and I laid him down dead. “Twice he put his hand to the wound in his chest and drew a cross in the air with his finger. He stood for a moment with his finger still raised. As it dropped, he dropped with it, and lied down dead.”
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“When I returned to the bedside of the young woman, I found her raving in precisely the same order of continuity. I knew that this might last for many hours, and that it would probably end in the silence of the grave. “When I went back to the bedside of the young woman, I found her screaming exactly as she had been before. I knew that this might go on for many hours and would probably end with her death.
“I repeated the medicines I had given her, and I sat at the side of the bed until the night was far advanced. She never abated the piercing quality of her shrieks, never stumbled in the distinctness or the order of her words. They were always ‘My husband, my father, and my brother! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Hush!’ “I gave her the same medicines again and sat at her bedside late through the night. Her screams never became less piercing. She never stumbled over her words or changed their order. She always said, “My husband, my father, and my brother! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Hush!’
“This lasted twenty-six hours from the time when I first saw her. I had come and gone twice, and was again sitting by her, when she began to falter. I did what little could be done to assist that opportunity, and by-and-bye she sank into a lethargy, and lay like the dead. “This went on for twenty-six hours after I had first seen her. I had come and gone twice and was sitting beside her again when she began to weaken. I did what little I could to help her calm down. Soon she sank into a stupor and lied there like she was dead.
“It was as if the wind and rain had lulled at last, after a long and fearful storm. I released her arms, and called the woman to assist me to compose her figure and the dress she had torn. It was then that I knew her condition to be that of one in whom the first expectations of being a mother have arisen; and it was then that I lost the little hope I had had of her. “It was as if the wind and rain had finally stopped after a long, frightening storm. I let go of her arms and called the peasant woman to help me adjust her and her torn dress. It was then that I realized that she was newly pregnant, and it was then that I lost what little hope I had of her recovery.
“‘Is she dead?’ asked the Marquis, whom I will still describe as the elder brother, coming booted into the room from his horse. “‘Is she dead?’ asked the marquis, whom I will still call the older brother. He came into the room wearing the boots he had been riding his horse in.
“‘Not dead,’ said I; ‘but like to die.’ “‘She’s not dead,’ I said. ‘But it is likely that she will die.’
“‘What strength there is in these common bodies!’ he said, looking down at her with some curiosity. “‘These peasants’ bodies are so strong!’ he said. He looked down at her with curiosity.
“‘There is prodigious strength,’ I answered him, ‘in sorrow and despair.’ “‘There is great strength in sorrow and despair,’ I answered.
“He first laughed at my words, and then frowned at them. He moved a chair with his foot near to mine, ordered the woman away, and said in a subdued voice, “At first he laughed at my words, then he frowned. He moved a chair close to mine with his foot and ordered the peasant woman to leave. He said, quietly: