"What is that?"she cried, all at once.
"My dear!"said her father, stopping in his story, and laying his hand on hers, "command yourself. What a disordered state you are in! The least thing — nothing — startles you! You, your father's daughter!"
"I thought, my father,"said Lucie, excusing herself, with a pale face and in a faltering voice, "that I heard strange feet upon the stairs."
"My love, the staircase is as still as Death."
As he said the word, a blow was struck upon the door.
"Oh father, father. What can this be! Hide Charles. Save him!"
"My child,"said the Doctor, rising, and laying his hand upon her shoulder, "I have saved him. What weakness is this, my dear! Let me go to the door."
He took the lamp in his hand, crossed the two intervening outer rooms, and opened it. A rude clattering of feet over the floor, and four rough men in red caps, armed with sabres and pistols, entered the room.
"The Citizen Evremonde, called Darnay,"said the first.
"Who seeks him?"answered Darnay.
"I seek him. We seek him. I know you, Evremonde; I saw you before the Tribunal to-day. You are again the prisoner of the Republic."
The four surrounded him, where he stood with his wife and child clinging to him.
"Tell me how and why am I again a prisoner?"
"It is enough that you return straight to the Conciergerie, and will know to-morrow. You are summoned for to-morrow."
Doctor Manette, whom this visitation had so turned into stone, that he stood with the lamp in his hand, as if be woe a statue made to hold it, moved after these words were spoken, put the lamp down, and confronting the speaker, and taking him, not ungently, by the loose front of his red woollen shirt, said:
"You know him, you have said. Do you know me?"
"Yes, I know you, Citizen Doctor."
"We all know you, Citizen Doctor,"said the other three.
He looked abstractedly from one to another, and said, in a lower voice, after a pause:
"Will you answer his question to me then? How does this happen?"
"Citizen Doctor,"said the first, reluctantly, "he has been denounced to the Section of Saint Antoine. This citizen,"pointing out the second who had entered, "is from Saint Antoine."
The citizen here indicated nodded his head, and added:
"He is accused by Saint Antoine."
"Of what?"asked the Doctor.
"Citizen Doctor,"said the first, with his former reluctance, "ask no more. If the Republic demands sacrifices from you, without doubt you as a good patriot will be happy to make them. The Republic goes before all. The People is supreme. Evremonde, we are pressed."
"One word,"the Doctor entreated. "Will you tell me who denounced him?"
"It is against rule,"answered the first; "but you can ask Him of Saint Antoine here."
The Doctor turned his eyes upon that man. Who moved uneasily on his feet, rubbed his beard a little, and at length said:
"Well! Truly it is against rule. But he is denounced — and gravely — by the Citizen and Citizeness Defarge. And by one other."
"Do you ask, Citizen Doctor?"
"Then,"said he of Saint Antoine, with a strange look, "you will be answered to-morrow. Now, I am dumb!"