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A TALE OF TWO CITIES
In Three Books.
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
CHAPTER XV. THE FOOTSTEPS DIE OUT FOR EVER.

ALONG the Paris streets, the death-carts
rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrils carry
the day's wine to La Guillotine. All the
devouring and insatiate Monsters imagined since
imagination could record itself, are fused in the
one realisation, Guillotine. And yet there is not
in France, with its rich variety of soil and
climate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a sprig, a peppercorn,
which will grow to maturity under conditions
more certain than those that have
produced this horror. Crush humanity out of
shape once more, under similar hammers, and it
will twist itself into the same tortured forms.
Sow the same seed of rapacious licence and
oppression ever again, and it will surely yield the
same fruit according to its kind.

Six tumbrils roll along the streets. Change
these back again to what they were, thou powerful
enchanter, Time, and they shall be seen to
be the carriages of absolute monarchs, the
equipages of feudal nobles, the toilettes of flaring
Jezabels, the churches that are not my father's
house but dens of thieves, the huts of
millions of starving peasants! No; the great magician
who majestically works out the appointed
order of the Creator, never reverses his
transformations. "If thou be changed into
this shape by the will of God," say the seers to
the enchanted, in the wise Arabian stories, "then
remain so! But, if thou wear this form through
mere passing conjuration, then resume thy
former aspect! "Changeless and hopeless, the
tumbrils roll along.

As the sombre wheels of the six carts go
round, they seem to plough up a long crooked
furrow among the populace in the streets.
Ridges of faces are thrown to this side and to
that, and the ploughs go steadily onward. So
used are the regular inhabitants of the houses
to the spectacle, that in many windows there are
no people, and in some the occupations of the
hands is not so much as suspended, while the
eyes survey the faces in the tumbrils. Here
and there, the inmate has visitors to see the
sight; then he points his finger, with
something of the complacency of a curator or
authorised exponent, to this cart and to this, and
seems to tell who sat here yesterday, and who
there the day before.

Of the riders in the tumbrils, some observe
these things, and all things on their last
roadside, with an impassive stare; others, with a
lingering interest in the ways of life and men.
Some, seated with drooping heads, are sunk in
silent despair; again, there are some so heedful
of their looks that they cast upon the multitude
such glances as they have seen in theatres, and
in pictures. Several close their eyes, and think,
or try to get their straying thoughts together.
Only one, and he a miserable creature of a crazed
aspect, is so shattered and made drunk by horror
that he sings, and tries to dance. Not one of
the whole number appeals, by look or gesture, to
the pity of the people.

There is a guard of sundry horsemen riding
abreast of the tumbrils, and faces are often
turned up to some of them and they are asked
some question. It would seem to be always the
same question, for, it is always followed by a
press of people towards the third cart. The
horsemen abreast of that cart, frequently point
out one man in it with their swords. The leading
curiosity is, to know which is he; he stands
at the back of the tumbril with his head bent
down, to converse with a mere girl who sits on
the side of the cart, and holds his hand. He
has no curiosity or care for the scene about
him, and always speaks to the girl. Here
and there in the long Street of St. Honoré,
cries are raised against him. If they move
him at all, it is only to a quiet smile, as he
shakes his hair a little more loosely about his
face. He cannot easily touch his face, his arms
being bound.

On the steps of a church, awaiting the coming-
up of the tumbrils, stands the Spy and prison-
sheep. He looks into the first of them: not
there. He looks into the second: not there.
He already asks himself, "Has he sacrificed
me?" when his face clears, as he looks into the
third.

"Which is Evrémonde?" says a man behind
him.

"That. At the back there."

"With his hand in the girl's?"

"Yes."

The man cries "Down, Evrémonde! To the
guillotine all aristocrats! Down, Evrémonde!"

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