From the streets beyond the high wall and the strong gate, there came the usual night hum of the city, with now and then an indescribable ring in it, weird and unearthly, as if some unwonted sounds of a terrible nature were going up to Heaven.
"Thank God,"said Mr. Lorry, clasping his hands, "that no one near and dear to me is in this dreadful town to-night. May He have mercy on all who are in danger!"
Soon afterwards, the bell at the great gate sounded, and he thought, "They have come back!"and sat listening. But, there was no loud irruption into the courtyard, as he had expected, and he heard the gate clash again, and all was quiet.
The nervousness and dread that were upon him inspired that vague uneasiness respecting the Bank, which a great change would naturally awaken, with such feelings roused. It was well guarded, and he got up to go among the trusty people who were watching it, when his door suddenly opened, and two figures rushed in, at sight of which he fell back in amazement.
Lucie and her father! Lucie with her arms stretched out to him, and with that old look of earnestness so concentrated and intensified, that it seemed as though it had been stamped upon her face expressly to give force and power to it in this one passage of her life.
"What is this?"cried Mr. Lorry, breathless and confused. "What is the matter? Lucie! Manette! What has happened? What has brought you here? What is it?"
With the look fixed upon him, in her paleness and wildness, she panted out in his arms, imploringly, "O my dear friend! My husband!"
"Your husband, Lucie?"
"What of Charles?"
"Here, in Paris?"
"Has been here some days — three or four — I don't know how many — I can't collect my thoughts. An errand of generosity brought him here unknown to us; he was stopped at the barrier, and sent to prison."
The old man uttered an irrepressible cry. Almost at the same moment, the beg of the great gate rang again, and a loud noise of feet and voices came pouring into the courtyard.
"What is that noise?"said the Doctor, turning towards the window.
"Don't look!"cried Mr. Lorry. "Don't look out! Manette, for your life, don't touch the blind!"
The Doctor turned, with his hand upon the fastening of the window, and said, with a cool, bold smile:
"My dear friend, I have a charmed life in this city. I have been a Bastille prisoner. There is no patriot in Paris — in Paris? In France — who, knowing me to have been a prisoner in the Bastille, would touch me, except to overwhelm me with embraces, or carry me in triumph. My old pain has given me a power that has brought us through the barrier, and gained us news of Charles there, and brought us here. I knew it would be so; I knew I could help Charles out of all danger; I told Lucie so. — What is that noise?"His hand was again upon the window.
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