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or two after daybreak, and lying by until the
twilight fell. The escort were so wretchedly
clothed, that they twisted straw round their
bare legs, and thatched their ragged shoulders
to keep the wet off. Apart from the personal
discomfort of being so attended, and apart from
such considerations of present danger as arose
from one of the patriots being chronically
drunk, and carrying his musket very recklessly,
Charles Darnay did not allow the restraint that
was laid upon him to awaken any serious fears
in his breast; for, he reasoned with himself that
it could have no reference to the merits of an
individual case that was not yet stated, and of
representations, confirmable by the prisoner in
the Abbaye, that were not yet made.

But, when they came to the town of Beauvais
which they did at eventide, when the streets
were filled with peoplehe could not
conceal from himself that the aspect of affairs was
very alarming. An ominous crowd gathered to
see him dismount at the posting-yard, and many
voices in it called out loudly, "Down with the

He stopped in the act of swinging himself
out of his saddle, and, resuming it as his safest
place, said:

"Emigrant, my friends! Do you not see me
here, in France, of my own will?"

"You are a cursed emigrant," cried a farrier,
making at him in a furious manner through the
press, hammer in hand; "and you are a cursed

The postmaster interposed himself between
this man and the rider's bridle (at which he was
evidently making), and soothingly said, "Let
him be; let him be! He will be judged at

"Judged!" repeated the farrier, swinging
his hammer. "Ay! and condemned as a traitor."
At this, the crowd roared approval.

Checking the postmaster, who was for turning
his horse's head to the yard (the drunken patriot
sat composedly in his saddle looking on, with
the line round his wrist), Darnay said, as soon
as he could make his voice heard:

"Friends, you deceive yourselves, or you are
deceived. I am not a traitor."

"He lies!" cried the smith. "He is a traitor
since the decree. His life is forfeit to the people.
His cursed life is not his own!"

At the instant when Darnay saw a rush in
the eyes of the crowd, which another instant,
would have brought upon him, the postmaster
turned his horse into the yard, the escort rode
in close upon his horse's flanks, and the
postmaster shut and barred the crazy double gates.
The farrier struck a blow upon them with his
hammer, and the crowd groaned; but, no more
was done.

"What is this decree that the smith spoke
of?" Darnay asked the postmaster, when he
had thanked him, and stood beside him in the

"Truly, a decree for selling the property of

"When passed?"

"On the fourteenth."

"The day I left England!"

"Everybody says it is but one of several, and
that there will be others-if there are not
alreadybanishing all emigrants, and condemning
all to death who return. That is what he
meant when he said your life was not your

"But there are no such decrees yet?"

"What do I know!" said the postmaster,
shrugging his shoulders; "there maybe, or there
will be. It is all the same. What would you

They rested on some straw in a loft until the
middle of the night, and then rode forward
again when all the town was asleep. Among
the many wild changes observable on familiar
things which make this wild ride unreal, not the
least was the seeming rarity of sleep. After
long and lonely spurring over dreary roads, they
would come to a cluster of poor cottages, not
steeped in darkness, but all glittering with lights,
and would find the people, in a ghostly manner
in the dead of the night, circling hand in hand
round a shrivelled tree of Liberty, or all drawn
up together singing a Liberty song. Happily,
however, there was sleep in Beauvais that night
to help them out of it, and they passed on once
more into solitude and loneliness: jingling
through the untimely cold and wet, among
impoverished fields that had yielded no fruits of the
earth that year, diversified by the blackened
remains of burnt houses, and by the sudden
emergence from ambuscade, and sharp reining
up across their way, of patriot patrols on the
watch on all the roads.

Daylight at last found them before the wall
of Paris. The barrier was closed and strongly
guarded when they rode up to it.

"Where are the papers of this prisoner?"
demanded a resolute-looking man in authority,
who was summoned out by the guard.

Naturally struck by the disagreeable word,
Charles Darnay requested the speaker to take
notice that he was a free traveller and French
citizen, in charge of an escort which the disturbed
state of the country had imposed upon
him, and which he had paid for.

"Where," repeated the same personage, without
taking any heed of him whatever, "are the
papers of this prisoner?"

The drunken patriot had them in his cap, and
produced them. Casting his eyes over Gabelle's
letter, the same personage in authority showed
some disorder and surprise, and looked at Darnay
with a close attention.

He left escort and escorted without saying a
word, however, and went into the guard-room;
meanwhile, they sat upon their horses outside
the gate. Looking about him while in this state
of suspense, Charles Darnay observed that the
gate was held by a mixed guard of soldiers and
patriots, the latter far outnumbering the former;
and that while ingress into the city for peasants'
carts bringing in supplies, and for similar traffic
and traffickers, was easy enough, egress, even for
the homeliest people, was very difficult. A