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A KNOCK AT THE DOOR
“I HAVE SAVED HIM.” It was not another of the dreams in which
he had often come back; he was really here. And yet his wife
trembled, and a vague but heavy fear was upon her.
All the air round was so thick and dark, the people were so
passionately revengeful and fitful, the innocent were so constantly
put to death on vague suspicion and black malice, it was so
impossible to forget that many as blameless as her husband and as
dear to others as he was to her, every day shared the fate from
which he had been clutched, that her heart could not be as
lightened of its load as she felt it ought to be. The shadows of the
wintry afternoon were beginning to fall, and even now the
dreadful carts were rolling through the streets. Her mind pursued
them, looking for him among the Condemned; and then she clung
closer to his real presence and trembled more.
Her father, cheering her, showed a compassionate superiority to
this woman’s weakness, which was wonderful to see. No garret, no
shoemaking, no One Hundred and Five, North Tower, now! He
had accomplished the task he had set himself, his promise was
redeemed, he had saved Charles. Let them all lean upon him.
Their housekeeping was of a very frugal kind: not only because
that was the safest way of life, involving the least offence to the
people, but because they were not rich, and Charles, throughout
his imprisonment, had had to pay heavily for his bad food, and for
his guard, and towards the living of the poorer prisoners.
Partly on this account, and partly to avoid a domestic spy, they
kept no servant; the citizen and citizeness who acted as porters at
the courtyard gate, rendered them occasional service; and Jerry
(almost wholly transferred to them by Mr. Lorry) had become
their daily retainer, and had his bed there every night.
It was an ordinance of the Republic One and Indivisible of Liberty,
Equality, Fraternity, or Death, that on the door or doorpost of
every house, the name of every inmate must be legibly inscribed in
letters of a certain size, at a certain convenient height from the
ground. Mr. Jerry Cruncher’s name, therefore, duly embellished
the doorpost down below; and, as the afternoon shadows
deepened, the owner of that name himself appeared, from
overlooking a painter whom Doctor Manette had employed to add
to the list the name of Charles Evremonde, called Darnay.
In the universal fear and distrust that darkened the time, all the
usual harmless ways of life were changed. In the Doctor’s little