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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


198

door were broken in (he was a small Southern man of retaliative
temperament), to pitch himself head foremost over the parapet,
and crush a man or two below.

Probably, Monsieur Gabelle passed a long night up there, with the
distant chateau for fire and candle, and the beating at his door,
combined with the joy-ringing, for music; not to mention his
having an ill-omened lamp slung across the road before his
posting-house gate, which the village showed a lively inclination to
displace in his favour. A trying suspense, to be passing a whole
summer night on the brink of the black ocean, ready to take that
plunge into it upon which Monsieur Gabelle had resolved! But, the
friendly dawn appearing at last, and the rushcandles of the village
guttering out, the people happily dispersed, and Monsieur Gabelle
came down bringing his life with him for that while.

Within a hundred miles, and in the light of other fires, there were
other functionaries less fortunate, that night and other nights,
whom the rising sun found hanging across once-peaceful streets,
where they had been born and bred; also, there were other
villagers and townspeople less fortunate than the mender of roads
and his fellows, upon whom the functionaries and soldiery turned
with success, and whom they strung up in their turn. But, the fierce
figures were steadily wending East, West, North, and South, be
that as it would; and whosoever hung, fire burned. The altitude of
the gallows that would turn to water and quench it, no functionary,
by any stretch of mathematics, was able to calculate successfully.
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