A tale of two cities (9. the secret paper)

When Charles Darnay was led before the Tribunal the next morning, Dr Manette, Lucie and Mr Lorry were all there. The love in Lucie’s eyes as she looked at her husband warmed Darnay’s heart. It had the same effect on Sydney Carton, though no one saw him standing at the back of the room.
It was the same Tribunal who had let Darnay go free on the day before. But Revolution Laws were not as powerful as the anger of the people.
The President of the Tribunal asked, ‘Who has accused Charles Evremonde again?’
‘Three voices,’ he was told. ‘He is accused by Ernest Defarge, by Teresa Defarge his wife, and by Alexandre Manette, Doctor.’
There was a great noise in the room when Dr Manette’s name was heard. When the shouting stopped, Dr Manette stood, pale and trembling.
‘President, this cannot be true. You know that the man who is accused, Charles Darnay, is my daughter’s husband. My daughter and those who are dear to her are far more important to me than my life. Where is the liar who says that I accuse my daughter’s husband?’
‘Citizen Manette,’ said the President, ‘be calm. Nothing can be more important to a good citizen than the freedom of France.’
Defarge came forward to answer questions. He told how he had been at the Bastille at the beginning of the Revolution, when that hated prison had been taken by the citizens.
‘I knew that Dr Manette had been kept in a room known as One Hundred and Five, North Tower. It was the only name he had when he came to me in 1775. I went to the room and, hidden in a hole, I found a written paper. It is in Dr Manette’s writing.’
‘Read it to us,’ said the President, and the crowd fell silent and listened.
I, Alexandre Manette, write this in the Bastille in 1767. I have been here for ten long years and I write this in my secret moments, when I can.
One evening in December, 1757, I was walking by the River Seine and a coach stopped beside me. Two men got out and one asked me if I was Dr Manette. When I replied that I was, they asked me to go with them, and made it clear that I could not refuse.
The coach left Paris and stopped at a lonely house. I could hear cries coming from a room upstairs. When I went in, I saw a young woman lying on a bed. She was young and very beautiful. She was also very ill. She kept crying out, ‘My husband, my father, and my brother!’ Then she listened for a moment, and began once again, ‘My husband, my father, and my brother…’
I gave the girl something to make her calmer, but her feverish screams continued. Then I turned to question the two men. They were clearly brothers, and their clothes and voices suggested that they were noblemen. But they took care to prevent me from learning their name.
Before I could speak, the older brother said carelessly, ‘There is another patient.’ In a different room, they showed me a boy of about seventeen. There was a sword wound in his chest and I could see at once that he was dying.
‘How did this happen?’ I asked.
‘He’s just a crazy young peasant. He came here shouting about revenge, and made my brother fight him.’ The older brother’s voice was cold and hard; he seemed to think the boy was less important than a horse or a dog.
The boy’s eyes looked at me. ‘Have you seen her. . . my sister?’ It was hard for him to speak.
‘I have seen her,’ I replied.
‘These rich nobles are cruel to us, Doctor. They destroy our land, they take our food, they steal our sisters. My sister loved a man in our village; he was sick, but she married him to take care of him.



environmental pollution topic
A tale of two cities (9. the secret paper)