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


59

CHAPTER III
A DISAPPOINTMENT


MR. ATTORNEY-GENERAL had to inform the jury, that the
prisoner before them, though young in years, was old in the
treasonable practices which claimed the forfeit of his life. That this
correspondence with the public enemy was not a correspondence
of to-day, or of yesterday, or even of last year, or of the year before.
That, it was certain the prisoner had, for longer than that, been in
the habit of passing and repassing between France and England, on
secret business of which he could give no honest account. That, if it
were in the nature of traitorous ways to thrive (which happily it
never was), the real wickedness and guilt of his business might
have remained undiscovered. That Providence, however, had put it
into the heart of a person who was beyond fear and beyond
reproach, to ferret out the nature of the prisonerís schemes, and,
struck with horror, to disclose them to his Majestyís Chief Secretary
of State and most honourable Privy Council.

That, this patriot would be produced before them. That, his
position and attitude were, on the whole, sublime. That, he had
been the prisonerís friend, but, at once in an auspicious and an evil
hour detecting his infamy, had resolved to immolate the traitor he
could no longer cherish in his bosom, on the sacred altar of his
country. That, if statues were decreed in Britain, as in ancient
Greece and Rome, to public benefactors, this shining citizen would
assuredly have had one. That, as they were not so decreed, he
probably would not have one. That, Virtue, as had been observed
by the poets (in many passages which he well knew the jury would
have, word for word, at the tips of their tongues; whereat the juryís
countenances displayed a guilty consciousness that they knew
nothing about the passages), was in a manner contagious; more
especially the bright virtue known as patriotism, or love of country.
That, the lofty example of this immaculate and unimpeachable
witness for the Crown, to refer to whom however unworthily was
an honour, had communicated itself to the prisonerís servant, and
had engendered in him a holy determination to examine his
masterís table-drawers and pockets, and secrete his papers. That,
he (Mr. Attorney-General) was prepared to hear some
disparagement attempted of this admirable servant; but that, in a
general way, he preferred him to his (Mr. Attorney-Generalís)
brothers and sisters, and honoured him more than his (Mr.
Attorney-Generalís) father and mother. That, he called with
confidence on the jury to come and do likewise. That, the evidence
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