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


60

of these two witnesses, coupled with the documents of their
discovering that would be produced, would show the prisoner to
have been furnished with lists of his Majestyís forces, and of their
disposition and preparation, both by sea and land, and would
leave no doubt that he had habitually conveyed such information
to a hostile power. That, these lists could not be proved to be in the
prisonerís handwriting; but that it was all the same; that, indeed, it
was rather the better for the prosecution, as showing the prisoner
to be artful in his precautions. That, the proof would go back five
years, and would show the prisoner already engaged in these
pernicious missions, within a few weeks before the date of the very
first action fought between the British troops and the Americans.
That, for these rea-sons, the jury, being a loyal jury (as he knew
they were), and being a responsible jury (as they knew they were),
must positively find the prisoner Guilty, and make an end of him,
whether they liked it or not. That, they never could lay their heads
upon their pillows; that, they never could tolerate the idea of their
wives laying their heads upon their pillows; that, they never could
endure the notion of their children laying their heads upon their
pillows; in short, that there never more could be, for them or theirs,
any laying of heads upon pillows at all, unless the prisonerís head
was taken off. That head Mr. Attorney-General concluded by
demanding of them, in the name of everything he could think of
with a round turn in it, and on the faith of his solemn asseveration
that he already considered the prisoner as good as dead and gone.
When the Attorney-General ceased, a buzz arose in the court as if a
cloud of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in
anticipation of what he was soon to become. When toned down
again, the unimpeachable patriot appeared in the witness-box.

Mr. Solicitor-General then, following his leaderís lead, examined
the patriot: John Barsad, gentleman, by name. The story of his
pure soul was exactly what Mr. Attorney-General had described it
to be-perhaps, if it had a fault, a little too exactly. Having released
his noble bosom of its burden, he would have modestly withdrawn
himself, but that the wigged gentleman with the papers before
him, sitting not far from Mr. Lorry, begged to ask him a few
questions. The wigged gentleman sitting opposite, still looking at
the ceiling of the court.

Had he ever been a spy himself? No, he scorned the base
insinuation. What did he live upon? His property. Where was his
property? He didnít precisely remember where it was. What was
it? No business of anybodyís. Had he inherited it? Yes, he had.
From whom? Distant relation. Very distant? Rather. Ever been in
prison? Certainly not. Never in a debtorsí prison? Didnít see what
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