`Shall I take her to a coach? I shall never feel her weight.'
He carried her lightly to the door, and laid her tenderly down in a coach. Her father and their old friend got into it, and he took his seat beside the driver.
When they arrived at the gateway where he had paused in the dark not many hours before, to picture to himself on which of the rough stones of the street her feet had trodden, he lifted her again, and carried her up the staircase to their rooms. There, he laid her down on a couch, where her child and Miss Pross wept over her.
`Don't recall her to herself,' he said, softly, to the latter, `she is better so. Don't revive her to consciousness, while she only faints.'
`Oh, Carton, Carton, dear Carton!' cried little Lucie, springing up and throwing her arms passionately round him, in a burst of grief. `Now that you have come, I think you will do something to help mamma, something to save papa! O, look at her, dear Carton! Can you, of all the people who love her, bear to see her so?'
He bent over the child, and laid her blooming cheek against his face. He put her gently from him, and looked at her unconscious mother.
`Before I go,' he said, and paused--'I may kiss her?'
It was remembered afterwards that when he bent down and touched her face with his lips, he murmured some words. The child, who was nearest to him, told them afterwards, and told her grandchildren when she was a handsome old lady, that she heard him say, `A life you love.'
When he had gone out into the next room, he turned suddenly on Mr. Lorry and her father, who were following, and said to the latter:
`You had great influence but yesterday, Doctor Manette; let it at least be tried. These judges, and all the men in power, ire very friendly to you, and very recognisant of your services; are they not?'
`Nothing connected with Charles was concealed from me. I had the strongest assurances that I should save him; and I did.' He returned the answer in great trouble, and very slowly.
`Try them again. The hours between this and to-morrow afternoon are few and short, but try.'
`I intend to try. I will not rest a moment.'
`That's well. I have known such energy as yours do great things before now--though never,' he added, with a smile and a sigh together, `such great things as this. But try! Of little worth as life is when we misuse it, it is worth that effort. It would cost nothing to lay down if it were not.'
`I will go,' said Doctor Manette, `to the Prosecutor and the President straight, and I will go to others whom it is better not to name. I will write too, and--But stay! There is a celebration in the streets, and no one will be accessible until dark.'
`That's true. Well! It is a forlorn hope at the best, and not much the forlorner for being delayed till dark. I should like to know how you speed; though, mind! I expect nothing! When are you likely to have seen these dread powers, Doctor Manette?'
`Immediately after dark, I should hope. Within an hour or two from this.'
`It will be dark soon after four. Let us stretch the hour or two. If I go to Mr. Lorry's at nine, shall I hear what you have done, either from our friend or from yourself?'
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