Scarcely noticing as yet, in what a curiously reserved and mechanical way Defarge spoke, Mr. Lorry put on his hat and they went down into the court-yard. There, they found two women; one, knitting.
`Madame Defarge, surely!' said Mr. Lorry, who had left her in exactly the same attitude some seventeen years ago.
`It is she,' observed her husband.
`Does madame go with us?' inquired Mr. Lorry, seeing that she moved as they moved.
`Yes. That she may be able to recognise the faces and know the persons. It is for their safety.'
Beginning to be struck by Defarge's manner, Mr. Lorry looked dubiously at him, and led the way. Both the women followed; the second woman being The Vengeance.
They passed through the intervening streets as quickly as they might, ascended the staircase of the new domicile, were admitted by Jerry, and found Lucie weeping, alone. She was thrown into a transport by the tidings Mr. Lorry gave her of her husband, and clasped the hand that delivered his note---little thinking what it had been doing near him in the night, and might, but for a chance, have done to him.
`DEAREST,--Take courage. I am well, and your father has influence around me. You cannot answer this. Kiss our child for me.'
That was all the writing. It was so much, however, to her who received it, that she turned from Defarge to his wife, and kissed one of the hands that knitted. It was a passionate, loving, thankful, womanly action, but the hand made no response--dropped cold and heavy, and took to its knitting again.
There was something in its touch that gave Lucie a check. She stopped in the act of putting the note in her bosom, and, with her hands yet at her neck, looked terrified at Madame Defarge. Madame Defarge met the lifted eyebrows and forehead with a cold, impassive stare.
`My dear,' said Mr. Lorry, striking in to explain; `there are frequent risings in the streets; and, although it is not likely they will ever trouble you, Madame Defarge wishes to see those whom she has the power to protect at such times, to the end that she may know them--that she may identify them. I believe,' said Mr. Lorry, rather halting in his reassuring words, as the stony manner of all the three impressed itself upon him more and more, `I state the case, Citizen Defarge?'
Defarge looked gloomily at his wife, and gave no other answer than a gruff sound of acquiescence.
`You had better, Lucie,' said Mr. Lorry, doing all he could to propitiate, by tone and manner, `have the dear child here, and our good Pross. Our good Pross, Defarge, is an English lady, and knows no French.'
The lady in question, whose rooted conviction that she was more than a match for any foreigner, was not to be shaken by distress and danger, appeared wish folded arms, and observed in English to The Vengeance, whom her eyes first encountered, `Well, I am sure, Boldface! I hope you are pretty well!' She also bestowed a British cough on Madame Defarge; but, neither of the two took much heed of her.
`Is that his child?' said Madame Defarge, stopping in her work for the first time, and pointing her knitting- needle at little Lucie as if it were the finger of Fate.
`Yes, madame,' answered Mr. Lorry; `this is our poor prisoner's darling daughter, and only child.'
The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party seemed to fall so threatening and dark on the child, that her mother instinctively kneeled on the ground beside her, and held her to her breast. The shadow attendant on Madame Defarge and her party seemed then to fall, threatening and dark, on both the mother and the child.
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