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hardly have been more afflicted if the Aristocrat had drawn a
blank.” They raised the unconscious figure, placed it on a litter
they had brought to the door, and bent to carry it away.
“The time is short, Evremonde,” said the Spy, in a warning voice.
“I know it well,” answered Carton. “Be careful of my friend, I
entreat you, and leave me.” “Come, then, my children,” said
Barsad. “Lift him, and come away!” The door closed, and Carton
was left alone. Straining his powers of listening to the utmost, he
listened for any sound that might denote suspicion or alarm.
There was none. Keys turned, doors clashed, footsteps passed
along distant passages: no cry was raised, or hurry made, that
seemed unusual. Breathing more freely in a little while, he sat
down at the table, and listened again until the clock struck Two.
Sounds that he was not afraid of, for he divined their meaning,
then began to be audible. Several doors were opened in succession,
and finally his own. A gaoler, with a list in his hand, looked in,
merely saying, “Follow me, Evremonde!” and he followed into a
large dark room, at a distance. It was a dark winter day, and what
with the shadows within, and what with the shadows without, he
could but dimly discern the others who were brought there to have
their arms bound. Some were standing; some seated. Some were
lamenting, and in restless motion; but, these were few. The great
majority were silent and still, looking fixedly at the ground.
As he stood by the wall in a dim corner, while some of the fifty-
two were brought in after him, one man stopped in passing, to
embrace him, as having a knowledge of him. It thrilled him with a
great dread of discovery; but the man went on. A very few
moments after that, a young woman, with a slight girlish form, a
sweet spare face in which there was no vestige of colour, and large
widely opened patient eyes, rose from the seat where he had
observed her sitting, and came to speak to him.
“Citizen Evremonde,” she said, touching him with her cold hand.
“I am a poor little seamstress, who was with you in La Force.” He
murmured for answer: “True. I forget what you were accused of?”
“Plots. Though the just Heaven knows that I am innocent of any. Is
it likely? Who would think of plotting with a poor little weak
creature like me? The forlorn smile with which she said it, so
touched him, that tears started from his eyes.
“I am not afraid to die, Citizen Evremonde, but I have done
nothing. I am not unwilling to die, if the Republic which is to do so
much good to us poor, will profit by my death; but I do not know
how that can be, Citizen Evremonde. Such a poor weak little
creature!” As the last thing on earth that his heart was to warm and
soften to, it warmed and softened to this pitiable girl.