that the decree bore date since his return to France. There he was, and there was the decree; he had been taken in France, and his head was demanded.
`Take off his head!' cried the audience. `An enemy to the Republic!'
The President rang his bell to silence those cries, and asked the prisoner whether it was not true that he had lived many years in England?
Undoubtedly it was.
Was he not an emigrant then? What did he call himself?
Not an emigrant, he hoped, within the sense and spirit of the law.
Why not? the President desired to know.
Because he had voluntarily relinquished a title that was distasteful to him, and a station that was distasteful to him, and had left his country--he submitted before the word emigrant in the present acceptation by the Tribunal was in use--to live by his own industry in England, rather than on the industry of the overladen people of France.
What proof had he of this?
He handed in the names of two witnesses: Théophile Gabelle, and Alexandre Manette.
But he had married in England? the President reminded him.
True, but not an English woman.
A citizeness of France?
Yes. By birth.
Her name and family?
`Lucie Manette, only daughter of Doctor Manette, the good physician who sits there.'
This answer had a happy effect upon the audience. Cries in exaltation of the well-known good physician rent the hall. So capriciously were the people moved, that tears immediately rolled down several ferocious countenances which had been glaring at the prisoner a moment before, as if with impatience to pluck him out into the streets and kill him.
On these few steps of his dangerous way, Charles Darnay had set his foot according to Doctor Manette's reiterated instructions. The same cautious counsel directed every step that lay before him, and had prepared every inch of his road.
The President asked, why had he returned to France when he did, and not sooner?
He had not returned sooner, he replied, simply because he had no means of living in France, save those he had resigned; whereas, in England, he lived by giving instruction in the French language and literature. He had returned when he did, on the pressing and written entreaty of a French citizen, who represented that his life was endangered by his absence. He had come back, to save a citizen's life, and to bear his testimony, at whatever personal hazard, to the truth. Was that criminal in the eyes of the Republic?
The populace cried enthusiastically, `No!' and the President rang his bell to quiet them. Which it did not, for they continued to cry `No!' until they left of of their own will.
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