Book the Third - The Track of a Storm
1. I. In Secret
Awakened by a timid local functionary and three armed patriots in
rough red caps and with pipes in their mouths, who sat down on the bed.
"Emigrant," said the functionary, "I am going to send you on to Paris,
under an escort."
"Citizen, I desire nothing more than to get to Paris, though I could
dispense with the escort."
"Silence!" growled a red-cap, striking at the coverlet with the
butt-end of his musket. "Peace, aristocrat!"
"It is as the good patriot says," observed the timid functionary.
"You are an aristocrat, and must have an escort--and must pay for it."
"I have no choice," said Charles Darnay.
"Choice! Listen to him!" cried the same scowling red-cap. "As if it
was not a favour to be protected from the lamp-iron!"
"It is always as the good patriot says," observed the functionary.
"Rise and dress yourself, emigrant."
Darnay complied, and was taken back to the guard-house, where other
patriots in rough red caps were smoking, drinking, and sleeping, by a
watch-fire. Here he paid a heavy price for his escort, and hence he
started with it on the wet, wet roads at three o'clock in the morning.
The escort were two mounted patriots in red caps and tri-coloured
cockades, armed with national muskets and sabres, who rode one on
either side of him.
The escorted governed his own horse, but a loose line was attached to
his bridle, the end of which one of the patriots kept girded round
his wrist. In this state they set forth with the sharp rain driving
in their faces: clattering at a heavy dragoon trot over the uneven
town pavement, and out upon the mire-deep roads. In this state they
traversed without change, except of horses and pace, all the mire-deep leagues that lay between them and the capital.