Mr. Attorney-General had to inform the jury, that the prisoner before
them, though young in years, was old in the treasonable practices which
claimed the forfeit of his life. That this correspondence with the public
enemy was not a correspondence of to-day, or of yesterday, or even of last
year, or of the year before. That, it was certain the prisoner had, for
longer than that, been in the habit of passing and repassing between
France and England, on secret business of which he could give no honest
account. That, if it were in the nature of traitorous ways to thrive
(which happily it never was), the real wickedness and guilt of his
business might have remained undiscovered. That Providence, however, had
put it into the heart of a person who was beyond fear and beyond reproach,
to ferret out the nature of the prisoner's schemes, and, struck with
horror, to disclose them to his Majesty's Chief Secretary of State and
most honourable Privy Council. That, this patriot would be produced before
them. That, his position and attitude were, on the whole, sublime. That,
he had been the prisoner's friend, but, at once in an auspicious and an
evil hour detecting his infamy, had resolved to immolate the traitor he
could no longer cherish in his bosom, on the sacred altar of his country.
That, if statues were decreed in Britain, as in ancient Greece and Rome,
to public benefactors, this shining citizen would assuredly have had one.
That, as they were not so decreed, he probably would not have one. That,
Virtue, as had been observed by the poets (in many passages which he well
knew the jury would have, word for word, at the tips of their tongues;
whereat the jury's countenances displayed a guilty consciousness that they
knew nothing about the passages), was in a manner contagious; more
especially the bright virtue known as patriotism, or love of country.
That, the lofty example of this immaculate and unimpeachable witness for
the Crown, to refer to whom however unworthily was an honour, had
communicated itself to the prisoner's servant, and had engendered in him a
holy determination to examine his master's table-drawers and pockets, and
secrete his papers. That, he (Mr. Attorney-General) was prepared to hear
some disparagement attempted of this admirable servant; but that, in a
general way, he preferred him to his (Mr. Attorney-General's) brothers and
sisters, and honoured him more than his (Mr. Attorney-General's) father
and mother. That, he called with confidence on the jury to come and do
likewise. That, the evidence of these two witnesses, coupled with the
documents of their discovering that would be produced, would show the
prisoner to have been furnished with lists of his Majesty's forces, and of
their disposition and preparation, both by sea and land, and would leave
no doubt that he had habitually conveyed such information to a hostile
power. That, these lists could not be proved to be in the prisoner's
handwriting; but that it was all the same; that, indeed, it was rather the
better for the prosecution, as showing the prisoner to be artful in his
precautions. That, the proof would go back five years, and would show the
prisoner already engaged in these pernicious missions, within a few weeks
before the date of the very first action fought between the British troops
and the Americans. That, for these reasons, the jury, being a loyal jury
(as he knew they were), and being a responsible jury (as they knew
they were), must positively find the prisoner Guilty, and make an end of
him, whether they liked it or not. That, they never could lay their heads
upon their pillows; that, they never could tolerate the idea of their
wives laying their heads upon their pillows; that, they never could endure
the notion of their children laying their heads upon their pillows; in
short, that there never more could be, for them or theirs, any laying of
heads upon pillows at all, unless the prisoner's head was taken off. That
head Mr. Attorney-General concluded by demanding of them, in the name of
everything he could think of with a round turn in it, and on the faith of
his solemn asseveration that he already considered the prisoner as good as
dead and gone.
When the Attorney-General ceased, a buzz arose in the court as if a cloud
of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in anticipation of
what he was soon to become. When toned down again, the unimpeachable
patriot appeared in the witness-box.
Mr. Solicitor-General then, following his leader's lead, examined the
patriot: John Barsad, gentleman, by name. The story of his pure soul was
exactly what Mr. Attorney-General had described it to be—perhaps, if
it had a fault, a little too exactly. Having released his noble bosom of
its burden, he would have modestly withdrawn himself, but that the wigged
gentleman with the papers before him, sitting not far from Mr. Lorry,
begged to ask him a few questions. The wigged gentleman sitting opposite,
still looking at the ceiling of the court.
Had he ever been a spy himself? No, he scorned the base insinuation. What
did he live upon? His property. Where was his property? He didn't
precisely remember where it was. What was it? No business of anybody's.
Had he inherited it? Yes, he had. From whom? Distant relation. Very
distant? Rather. Ever been in prison? Certainly not. Never in a debtors'
prison? Didn't see what that had to do with it. Never in a debtors'
prison?—Come, once again. Never? Yes. How many times? Two or three
times. Not five or six? Perhaps. Of what profession? Gentleman. Ever been
kicked? Might have been. Frequently? No. Ever kicked downstairs? Decidedly
not; once received a kick on the top of a staircase, and fell downstairs
of his own accord. Kicked on that occasion for cheating at dice? Something
to that effect was said by the intoxicated liar who committed the assault,
but it was not true. Swear it was not true? Positively. Ever live by
cheating at play? Never. Ever live by play? Not more than other gentlemen
do. Ever borrow money of the prisoner? Yes. Ever pay him? No. Was not this
intimacy with the prisoner, in reality a very slight one, forced upon the
prisoner in coaches, inns, and packets? No. Sure he saw the prisoner with
these lists? Certain. Knew no more about the lists? No. Had not procured
them himself, for instance? No. Expect to get anything by this evidence?
No. Not in regular government pay and employment, to lay traps? Oh dear
no. Or to do anything? Oh dear no. Swear that? Over and over again. No
motives but motives of sheer patriotism? None whatever.
The virtuous servant, Roger Cly, swore his way through the case at a great
rate. He had taken service with the prisoner, in good faith and
simplicity, four years ago. He had asked the prisoner, aboard the Calais
packet, if he wanted a handy fellow, and the prisoner had engaged him. He
had not asked the prisoner to take the handy fellow as an act of charity—never
thought of such a thing. He began to have suspicions of the prisoner, and
to keep an eye upon him, soon afterwards. In arranging his clothes, while
travelling, he had seen similar lists to these in the prisoner's pockets,
over and over again. He had taken these lists from the drawer of the
prisoner's desk. He had not put them there first. He had seen the prisoner
show these identical lists to French gentlemen at Calais, and similar
lists to French gentlemen, both at Calais and Boulogne. He loved his
country, and couldn't bear it, and had given information. He had never
been suspected of stealing a silver tea-pot; he had been maligned
respecting a mustard-pot, but it turned out to be only a plated one. He
had known the last witness seven or eight years; that was merely a
coincidence. He didn't call it a particularly curious coincidence; most
coincidences were curious. Neither did he call it a curious coincidence
that true patriotism was his only motive too. He was a true Briton,
and hoped there were many like him.
The blue-flies buzzed again, and Mr. Attorney-General called Mr. Jarvis
"Mr. Jarvis Lorry, are you a clerk in Tellson's bank?"
"On a certain Friday night in November one thousand seven hundred and
seventy-five, did business occasion you to travel between London and Dover
by the mail?"
"Were there any other passengers in the mail?"
"Did they alight on the road in the course of the night?"
"Mr. Lorry, look upon the prisoner. Was he one of those two passengers?"
"I cannot undertake to say that he was."
"Does he resemble either of these two passengers?"
"Both were so wrapped up, and the night was so dark, and we were all so
reserved, that I cannot undertake to say even that."
"Mr. Lorry, look again upon the prisoner. Supposing him wrapped up as
those two passengers were, is there anything in his bulk and stature to
render it unlikely that he was one of them?"
"You will not swear, Mr. Lorry, that he was not one of them?"
"So at least you say he may have been one of them?"
"Yes. Except that I remember them both to have been—like myself—timorous
of highwaymen, and the prisoner has not a timorous air."
"Did you ever see a counterfeit of timidity, Mr. Lorry?"
"I certainly have seen that."
"Mr. Lorry, look once more upon the prisoner. Have you seen him, to your
certain knowledge, before?"
"I was returning from France a few days afterwards, and, at Calais, the
prisoner came on board the packet-ship in which I returned, and made the
voyage with me."
"At what hour did he come on board?"
"At a little after midnight."
"In the dead of the night. Was he the only passenger who came on board at
that untimely hour?"
"He happened to be the only one."
"Never mind about 'happening,' Mr. Lorry. He was the only passenger who
came on board in the dead of the night?"
"Were you travelling alone, Mr. Lorry, or with any companion?"
"With two companions. A gentleman and lady. They are here."
"They are here. Had you any conversation with the prisoner?"
"Hardly any. The weather was stormy, and the passage long and rough, and I
lay on a sofa, almost from shore to shore."
The young lady, to whom all eyes had been turned before, and were now
turned again, stood up where she had sat. Her father rose with her, and
kept her hand drawn through his arm.
"Miss Manette, look upon the prisoner."
To be confronted with such pity, and such earnest youth and beauty, was
far more trying to the accused than to be confronted with all the crowd.
Standing, as it were, apart with her on the edge of his grave, not all the
staring curiosity that looked on, could, for the moment, nerve him to
remain quite still. His hurried right hand parcelled out the herbs before
him into imaginary beds of flowers in a garden; and his efforts to control
and steady his breathing shook the lips from which the colour rushed to
his heart. The buzz of the great flies was loud again.
"Miss Manette, have you seen the prisoner before?"
"On board of the packet-ship just now referred to, sir, and on the same
"You are the young lady just now referred to?"
"O! most unhappily, I am!"
The plaintive tone of her compassion merged into the less musical voice of
the Judge, as he said something fiercely: "Answer the questions put to
you, and make no remark upon them."
"Miss Manette, had you any conversation with the prisoner on that passage
across the Channel?"
In the midst of a profound stillness, she faintly began: "When the
gentleman came on board—"
"Do you mean the prisoner?" inquired the Judge, knitting his brows.
"Yes, my Lord."
"Then say the prisoner."
"When the prisoner came on board, he noticed that my father," turning her
eyes lovingly to him as he stood beside her, "was much fatigued and in a
very weak state of health. My father was so reduced that I was afraid to
take him out of the air, and I had made a bed for him on the deck near the
cabin steps, and I sat on the deck at his side to take care of him. There
were no other passengers that night, but we four. The prisoner was so good
as to beg permission to advise me how I could shelter my father from the
wind and weather, better than I had done. I had not known how to do it
well, not understanding how the wind would set when we were out of the
harbour. He did it for me. He expressed great gentleness and kindness for
my father's state, and I am sure he felt it. That was the manner of our
beginning to speak together."
"Let me interrupt you for a moment. Had he come on board alone?"
"How many were with him?"
"Two French gentlemen."
"Had they conferred together?"
"They had conferred together until the last moment, when it was necessary
for the French gentlemen to be landed in their boat."
"Had any papers been handed about among them, similar to these lists?"
"Some papers had been handed about among them, but I don't know what
"Like these in shape and size?"
"Possibly, but indeed I don't know, although they stood whispering very
near to me: because they stood at the top of the cabin steps to have the
light of the lamp that was hanging there; it was a dull lamp, and they
spoke very low, and I did not hear what they said, and saw only that they
looked at papers."
"Now, to the prisoner's conversation, Miss Manette."
"The prisoner was as open in his confidence with me—which arose out
of my helpless situation—as he was kind, and good, and useful to my
father. I hope," bursting into tears, "I may not repay him by doing him
Buzzing from the blue-flies.
"Miss Manette, if the prisoner does not perfectly understand that you give
the evidence which it is your duty to give—which you must give—and
which you cannot escape from giving—with great unwillingness, he is
the only person present in that condition. Please to go on."
"He told me that he was travelling on business of a delicate and difficult
nature, which might get people into trouble, and that he was therefore
travelling under an assumed name. He said that this business had, within a
few days, taken him to France, and might, at intervals, take him backwards
and forwards between France and England for a long time to come."
"Did he say anything about America, Miss Manette? Be particular."
"He tried to explain to me how that quarrel had arisen, and he said that,
so far as he could judge, it was a wrong and foolish one on England's
part. He added, in a jesting way, that perhaps George Washington might
gain almost as great a name in history as George the Third. But there was
no harm in his way of saying this: it was said laughingly, and to beguile
Any strongly marked expression of face on the part of a chief actor in a
scene of great interest to whom many eyes are directed, will be
unconsciously imitated by the spectators. Her forehead was painfully
anxious and intent as she gave this evidence, and, in the pauses when she
stopped for the Judge to write it down, watched its effect upon the
counsel for and against. Among the lookers-on there was the same
expression in all quarters of the court; insomuch, that a great majority
of the foreheads there, might have been mirrors reflecting the witness,
when the Judge looked up from his notes to glare at that tremendous heresy
about George Washington.
Mr. Attorney-General now signified to my Lord, that he deemed it
necessary, as a matter of precaution and form, to call the young lady's
father, Doctor Manette. Who was called accordingly.
"Doctor Manette, look upon the prisoner. Have you ever seen him before?"
"Once. When he called at my lodgings in London. Some three years, or three
years and a half ago."
"Can you identify him as your fellow-passenger on board the packet, or
speak to his conversation with your daughter?"
"Sir, I can do neither."
"Is there any particular and special reason for your being unable to do
He answered, in a low voice, "There is."
"Has it been your misfortune to undergo a long imprisonment, without
trial, or even accusation, in your native country, Doctor Manette?"
He answered, in a tone that went to every heart, "A long imprisonment."
"Were you newly released on the occasion in question?"
"They tell me so."
"Have you no remembrance of the occasion?"
"None. My mind is a blank, from some time—I cannot even say what
time—when I employed myself, in my captivity, in making shoes, to
the time when I found myself living in London with my dear daughter here.
She had become familiar to me, when a gracious God restored my faculties;
but, I am quite unable even to say how she had become familiar. I have no
remembrance of the process."
Mr. Attorney-General sat down, and the father and daughter sat down
A singular circumstance then arose in the case. The object in hand being
to show that the prisoner went down, with some fellow-plotter untracked,
in the Dover mail on that Friday night in November five years ago, and got
out of the mail in the night, as a blind, at a place where he did not
remain, but from which he travelled back some dozen miles or more, to a
garrison and dockyard, and there collected information; a witness was
called to identify him as having been at the precise time required, in the
coffee-room of an hotel in that garrison-and-dockyard town, waiting for
another person. The prisoner's counsel was cross-examining this witness
with no result, except that he had never seen the prisoner on any other
occasion, when the wigged gentleman who had all this time been looking at
the ceiling of the court, wrote a word or two on a little piece of paper,
screwed it up, and tossed it to him. Opening this piece of paper in the
next pause, the counsel looked with great attention and curiosity at the
"You say again you are quite sure that it was the prisoner?"
The witness was quite sure.
"Did you ever see anybody very like the prisoner?"
Not so like (the witness said) as that he could be mistaken.
"Look well upon that gentleman, my learned friend there," pointing to him
who had tossed the paper over, "and then look well upon the prisoner. How
say you? Are they very like each other?"
Allowing for my learned friend's appearance being careless and slovenly if
not debauched, they were sufficiently like each other to surprise, not
only the witness, but everybody present, when they were thus brought into
comparison. My Lord being prayed to bid my learned friend lay aside his
wig, and giving no very gracious consent, the likeness became much more
remarkable. My Lord inquired of Mr. Stryver (the prisoner's counsel),
whether they were next to try Mr. Carton (name of my learned friend) for
treason? But, Mr. Stryver replied to my Lord, no; but he would ask the
witness to tell him whether what happened once, might happen twice;
whether he would have been so confident if he had seen this illustration
of his rashness sooner, whether he would be so confident, having seen it;
and more. The upshot of which, was, to smash this witness like a crockery
vessel, and shiver his part of the case to useless lumber.
Mr. Cruncher had by this time taken quite a lunch of rust off his fingers
in his following of the evidence. He had now to attend while Mr. Stryver
fitted the prisoner's case on the jury, like a compact suit of clothes;
showing them how the patriot, Barsad, was a hired spy and traitor, an
unblushing trafficker in blood, and one of the greatest scoundrels upon
earth since accursed Judas—which he certainly did look rather like.
How the virtuous servant, Cly, was his friend and partner, and was worthy
to be; how the watchful eyes of those forgers and false swearers had
rested on the prisoner as a victim, because some family affairs in France,
he being of French extraction, did require his making those passages
across the Channel—though what those affairs were, a consideration
for others who were near and dear to him, forbade him, even for his life,
to disclose. How the evidence that had been warped and wrested from the
young lady, whose anguish in giving it they had witnessed, came to
nothing, involving the mere little innocent gallantries and politenesses
likely to pass between any young gentleman and young lady so thrown
together;—with the exception of that reference to George Washington,
which was altogether too extravagant and impossible to be regarded in any
other light than as a monstrous joke. How it would be a weakness in the
government to break down in this attempt to practise for popularity on the
lowest national antipathies and fears, and therefore Mr. Attorney-General
had made the most of it; how, nevertheless, it rested upon nothing, save
that vile and infamous character of evidence too often disfiguring such
cases, and of which the State Trials of this country were full. But, there
my Lord interposed (with as grave a face as if it had not been true),
saying that he could not sit upon that Bench and suffer those allusions.
Mr. Stryver then called his few witnesses, and Mr. Cruncher had next to
attend while Mr. Attorney-General turned the whole suit of clothes Mr.
Stryver had fitted on the jury, inside out; showing how Barsad and Cly
were even a hundred times better than he had thought them, and the
prisoner a hundred times worse. Lastly, came my Lord himself, turning the
suit of clothes, now inside out, now outside in, but on the whole
decidedly trimming and shaping them into grave-clothes for the prisoner.
And now, the jury turned to consider, and the great flies swarmed again.
Mr. Carton, who had so long sat looking at the ceiling of the court,
changed neither his place nor his attitude, even in this excitement. While
his learned friend, Mr. Stryver, massing his papers before him, whispered
with those who sat near, and from time to time glanced anxiously at the
jury; while all the spectators moved more or less, and grouped themselves
anew; while even my Lord himself arose from his seat, and slowly paced up
and down his platform, not unattended by a suspicion in the minds of the
audience that his state was feverish; this one man sat leaning back, with
his torn gown half off him, his untidy wig put on just as it had happened
to light on his head after its removal, his hands in his pockets, and his
eyes on the ceiling as they had been all day. Something especially
reckless in his demeanour, not only gave him a disreputable look, but so
diminished the strong resemblance he undoubtedly bore to the prisoner
(which his momentary earnestness, when they were compared together, had
strengthened), that many of the lookers-on, taking note of him now, said
to one another they would hardly have thought the two were so alike. Mr.
Cruncher made the observation to his next neighbour, and added, "I'd hold
half a guinea that he don't get no law-work to do. Don't look like
the sort of one to get any, do he?"
Yet, this Mr. Carton took in more of the details of the scene than he
appeared to take in; for now, when Miss Manette's head dropped upon her
father's breast, he was the first to see it, and to say audibly: "Officer!
look to that young lady. Help the gentleman to take her out. Don't you see
she will fall!"
There was much commiseration for her as she was removed, and much sympathy
with her father. It had evidently been a great distress to him, to have
the days of his imprisonment recalled. He had shown strong internal
agitation when he was questioned, and that pondering or brooding look
which made him old, had been upon him, like a heavy cloud, ever since. As
he passed out, the jury, who had turned back and paused a moment, spoke,
through their foreman.
They were not agreed, and wished to retire. My Lord (perhaps with George
Washington on his mind) showed some surprise that they were not agreed,
but signified his pleasure that they should retire under watch and ward,
and retired himself. The trial had lasted all day, and the lamps in the
court were now being lighted. It began to be rumoured that the jury would
be out a long while. The spectators dropped off to get refreshment, and
the prisoner withdrew to the back of the dock, and sat down.
Mr. Lorry, who had gone out when the young lady and her father went out,
now reappeared, and beckoned to Jerry: who, in the slackened interest,
could easily get near him.
"Jerry, if you wish to take something to eat, you can. But, keep in the
way. You will be sure to hear when the jury come in. Don't be a moment
behind them, for I want you to take the verdict back to the bank. You are
the quickest messenger I know, and will get to Temple Bar long before I
Jerry had just enough forehead to knuckle, and he knuckled it in
acknowledgment of this communication and a shilling. Mr. Carton came up at
the moment, and touched Mr. Lorry on the arm.
"How is the young lady?"
"She is greatly distressed; but her father is comforting her, and she
feels the better for being out of court."
"I'll tell the prisoner so. It won't do for a respectable bank gentleman
like you, to be seen speaking to him publicly, you know."
Mr. Lorry reddened as if he were conscious of having debated the point in
his mind, and Mr. Carton made his way to the outside of the bar. The way
out of court lay in that direction, and Jerry followed him, all eyes,
ears, and spikes.
The prisoner came forward directly.
"You will naturally be anxious to hear of the witness, Miss Manette. She
will do very well. You have seen the worst of her agitation."
"I am deeply sorry to have been the cause of it. Could you tell her so for
me, with my fervent acknowledgments?"
"Yes, I could. I will, if you ask it."
Mr. Carton's manner was so careless as to be almost insolent. He stood,
half turned from the prisoner, lounging with his elbow against the bar.
"I do ask it. Accept my cordial thanks."
"What," said Carton, still only half turned towards him, "do you expect,
"It's the wisest thing to expect, and the likeliest. But I think their
withdrawing is in your favour."
Loitering on the way out of court not being allowed, Jerry heard no more:
but left them—so like each other in feature, so unlike each other in
manner—standing side by side, both reflected in the glass above
An hour and a half limped heavily away in the thief-and-rascal crowded
passages below, even though assisted off with mutton pies and ale. The
hoarse messenger, uncomfortably seated on a form after taking that
refection, had dropped into a doze, when a loud murmur and a rapid tide of
people setting up the stairs that led to the court, carried him along with
"Jerry! Jerry!" Mr. Lorry was already calling at the door when he got
"Here, sir! It's a fight to get back again. Here I am, sir!"
Mr. Lorry handed him a paper through the throng. "Quick! Have you got it?"
Hastily written on the paper was the word "ACQUITTED."
"If you had sent the message, 'Recalled to Life,' again," muttered Jerry,
as he turned, "I should have known what you meant, this time."
He had no opportunity of saying, or so much as thinking, anything else,
until he was clear of the Old Bailey; for, the crowd came pouring out with
a vehemence that nearly took him off his legs, and a loud buzz swept into
the street as if the baffled blue-flies were dispersing in search of other