town pavement, and out upon the mire-deep roads. In this state they traversed without change, except of horses and pace, all the mire-deep leagues that lay between them and the capital.
They travelled in the night, halting an hour or two after daybreak, and lying by until the twilight fell. The escort were so wretchedly clothed, that they twisted straw round their bare legs, and thatched their ragged shoulders to keep the wet off Apart from the personal discomfort of being so attended, and apart from such considerations of present danger as arose from one of the patriots being chronically drunk, and carrying his musket very recklessly, Charles Darnay did not allow the restraint that was laid upon him to awaken any serious fears in his breast; for, he reasoned with himself that it could have no reference to the merits of an individual case that was not yet stated, and of representations, confirmable by the prisoner in the Abbaye, that were not yet made.
But when they canto to the town of Beauvais--which they did at eventide, when the streets were filled with people--he could not `conceal from himself that the aspect of affairs was very alarming. An ominous crowd gathered to see him dismount at the posting-yard, and many voices called out loudly, `Down with the emigrant!'
He stopped in the act of swinging himself out of his saddled 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.'
`On the fourteenth.'
`The day I left England!'
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