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An ominous crowd gathered to see him dismount of the posting-
yard, and many voices called out loudly, “Down with the
emigrant!” 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 aristocrat!”

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 Paris.”
“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
yard. “Truly, a decree for selling the property of emigrants.”
“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 already-banishing all
emigrants, and condemning all to death who return.

That is what he meant when he said your life was not your own.”
“But there are no such decrees yet?” “What do I know!” said the
postmaster, shrugging his shoulders; “there may be, or there will
be. It is all the same. What would you have?” 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 made 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
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