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A Tale of Two Cities

The Mercury Theatre on the Air

A Tale of Two Cities 

July 25 1938



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

DR. ALEXANDRE MANETTE, Lucie's father

MARQUIS 1, Darnay's uncle

MARQUIS 2, Darnay's uncle

WOMAN

BOY

MAN IN BLACK (1 line)

JARVIS LORRY, banker

TOM 

GUARD

MESSENGER

CREW (3 lines)

LUCIE MANETTE, Manette's daughter, Darnay's wife

ERNEST DEFARGE, Manette's servant; a revolutionary

BAILIFF

MAN 1 (1 line)

MAN 2 (3 lines)

WOMAN 2 (2 lines)

JUDGE

CHARLES DARNAY, sympathetic aristocrat

PROSECUTOR, zealous

CLERK

DEFENSE

PAID SPY

JUROR (1 line)

SIDNEY CARTON, self-loathing lawyer

SPY

MME. DEFARGE, vengeful revolutionary

VOICE (1 scream)

CITIZEN 1

CITIZEN 2

CITIZEN 3 (3 lines)

PRISON GUARD (2 lines)

BANK CLERK

AUPONT (1 line)

OFFICER (2 lines)

PUBLIC PROSECUTOR

PRESIDENT

GAOLER

OFFICIAL (2 lines)

GAOLER 2 (3 lines)

BYSTANDER 1

BYSTANDER 2 (2 lines)

BYSTANDER 3 (2 lines)

WOMAN 3

SEAMSTRESS

and many a CROWD




MUSIC: THEME (FROM TCHAIKOVSKY'S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 1) ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: The Columbia network takes pride in presenting Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in the third broadcast of a unique new series dramatizing famous narratives by great authors. This is the first time that a complete theatrical producing company has been brought to radio, and the Columbia network again welcomes Mr. Welles and his associates to its own stations and to the stations of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation coast-to-coast. 


MUSIC: OUT


ANNOUNCER: Every week, Orson Welles invites our listeners to suggest their favorite titles. And tonight, at your request, the Mercury Theatre on the Air presents "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens, with Orson Welles as Dr. Manette and Sydney Carton. "A Tale of Two Cities."


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION


SOUND: SCRIBBLE OF MAKESHIFT PEN ON PAPER BEHIND MANETTE--


MANETTE: (WITH SOME DIFFICULTY, AS HE WRITES) Paris, Seventeen Sixty-Seven. I, Alexandre Manette, unfortunate physician, write this melancholy paper in my doleful cell in the Bastille. Hope has quite departed from my breast. I write these words with a rusty iron point dipped in scrapings of soot and charcoal from the chimney, mixed with blood. One cloudy night ten years ago, I was walking along the quay by the river.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS BRIEFLY ... STOP WITH--


MARQUIS 1: Dr. Manette! Dr. Manette--?


MANETTE: That is my name.


MARQUIS 2: Dr. Manette, formerly of Beauvais?


MANETTE: I am that Dr. Manette.


MARQUIS 2: Will you please to enter the carriage, Dr. Manette?


MANETTE: Gentlemen, pardon me, but I usually inquire who does me the honor to seek my assistance.


MARQUIS 2: Doctor, your clients are people of condition, are they not? Will you please to enter the carriage?


MANETTE: (NARRATES) They were armed and I was not. I got in in silence. 


SOUND: CARRIAGE DOOR SLAMS ... HORSES START TO TROT ON COBBLESTONE STREET ... CHANGES TO DIRT ROAD BEHIND--


MANETTE: (NARRATES) We left the streets behind, through the north barrier, onto a country road and presently stopped at a solitary house. 


SOUND: CARRIAGE SLOWS TO A STOP


MANETTE: (NARRATES) I saw that the two men were brothers.


WOMAN: (MUMBLES, DELIRIOUS) My husband, my father, my brother.


MANETTE: (NARRATES) In an upper room, I found a patient in a high fever of the brain lying on a bed. She was a woman of great beauty, and young, certainly not past twenty; her hair was torn and ragged, and her arms were bound to her side.


WOMAN: (STILL DELIRIOUS) My husband, my father, my brother. One, two, three, four. (CONTINUES INDECIPHERABLY IN BG)


MANETTE: (TO MARQUIS) How long has she lasted?


MARQUIS 1: Since about this hour last night.


MANETTE: She has a husband, a father, and a brother?


MARQUIS 1: A brother.


MANETTE: You are not her brother?


MARQUIS 1: I am not.


WOMAN: My brother. One, two, three, four, five--


MARQUIS 2: There is another patient-- 


MARQUIS 1: --you had better see. Come.


WOMAN: --six, seven, eight, nine. (FADES OUT)


MANETTE: (NARRATES) In a back room, on some hay on the ground, lay a handsome boy of not more than seventeen. His wound was a sword-thrust received from twenty to twenty-four hours before. He was dying fast. (ASTONISHED, TO MARQUIS) How was this done, monsieur?


MARQUIS 1: (WITH CONTEMPT) Crazed young common dog! A peasant! Forced my brother to draw on him and has fallen by my brother's sword, almost like a gentleman.


MANETTE: (NARRATES) The boy's eyes moved slowly towards me.


BOY: Have you seen her, Doctor?


MANETTE: Aye. I have seen her.


BOY: (SEETHING WITH ANGER) She is my sister, Doctor. She was a good girl -- married to a good young man, too -- one of his tenants. We're all tenants of his. But the Marquis of Saint Evrémonde saw her and what do you think they did -- he and his brother? You know, Doctor, that it's among the rights of these nobles to harness us common dogs to carts and drive us. They so harnessed my sister's husband and drove him all day. And all night, kept him on the grounds in the unwholesome nights, quieting the frogs so that their noble sleep might not be disturbed. And then back in the harness in the day. Taken out of harness one day at noon, to feed -- if he could find food -- he sobbed twelve times, once for every stroke of the bell, and died on her bosom. Then, when her husband was dead, that man took her away. I saw her pass on the road. I tracked him here and last night I climbed in -- a common dog, but a sword in my hand. I made him draw and fight with me, common dog though I am! Where is he?!


MANETTE: He is not here.


BOY: (AN ANGRY VOW) Marquis of Saint Evrémonde, in the days when all these things are to be answered for, I summon you, and yours to the last of your bad race, to answer for them. I mark this cross of blood upon you as a sign that I do it!


MANETTE: (NARRATES) He put his hand to the wound in his breast and with his forefinger drew a cross in the air. He stood for an instant with a finger yet raised and as it dropped, he dropped with it, and I laid him down -- dead.


WOMAN: (STILL DELIRIOUS) My husband, my father, my brother. One, two, three, four-- (OUT BEHIND MANETTE--)


MANETTE: (NARRATES) I returned to the bedside of the girl. The sound of her voice never ceased. She lingered on for a week. Then on the eighth day--


MARQUIS 1: At last she is dead?


MANETTE: She is dead.


MARQUIS 1: I congratulate you, my brother.


MANETTE: (NARRATES) Five nights later, toward nine o'clock, a man in a black dress rang at my gate, demanded to see me, and softly followed my servant, Ernest Defarge, upstairs into the room where I sat with my young wife.


MAN IN BLACK: An urgent case, Doctor. Won't detain you long. I have a coach waiting.


MANETTE: (NARRATES) When I was clear of the house, a black muffler was drawn tightly over my mouth from behind and my arms were pinioned. The two brothers crossed the road from a dark corner and identified me. Not a word was spoken. That coach brought me here to the Bastille. It brought me to my grave. If it had pleased God to put it in the hard heart of either of the brothers, in all these frightful years, to grant me any tidings of my dearest wife and my child -- so much as to let me know by a word whether they are alive or dead -- I might have thought that He had not quite abandoned them. But now, I believe that the mark of the red cross is fatal to them and that they have no part in His mercies. And them, and their descendants, to the last of their race, I, Alexandre Manette, unhappy prisoner, do this last night of the year Seventeen Sixty-Seven, in my unbearable agony, denounce them to Heaven and to earth.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


LORRY: (NARRATES) The words are written in scrapings of soot mixed with blood on scraps of crumbling paper. There they lie hidden away in the solid stone, year after year. 


SOUND: SLOW, STEADY HAMMERING ... THEN IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES) Now, in the North Tower, Cell Number One Hundred and Five, is heard all day a low hammering sound -- the sound of an old man making shoes in the dark. 


SOUND: HAMMERING, UP TO FILL PAUSE ... THEN STOPS


LORRY: (NARRATES) One day, after eighteen years, the sound stops and, for a while, North Tower Cell Number One Hundred and Five is empty.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND LORRY--


LORRY: (NARRATES) My name is Jarvis Lorry. Most of the characters in this history are people whom I first encountered in the course of business on behalf of Tellson's Bank, London and Paris, of which I have been for many years a partner. This is a history of events that took place in London and across the Channel in France, in the terrible years immediately preceding and during the great French Revolution. (BEAT) Seventeen Eighty-Five, the Dover Road.


TOM: What o'clock do you make it, Joe?


GUARD: Ten minutes, good, past eleven.


TOM: Oh, my blood, and the Dover coach not atop of Shooter's Hill yet! 


SOUND: GALLOPING HORSE RAPIDLY APPROACHES FROM DISTANCE ... THEN IN BG


TOM: Hey, Joe.


GUARD: What do you say, Tom?


TOM: I say an horse at a canter coming up, Joe.


GUARD: (CORRECTS HIM) I say a horse at a gallop, Tom.


MESSENGER: (FROM OFF, ON HORSE) Gentlemen! In the king's name, all of you!


GUARD: So-ho! Yo there! Stand or I fire!


SOUND: HORSE SLOWS TO A WALK


MESSENGER: (OFF) Is that the Dover mail?


GUARD: Never you mind what it is! What are you?!


MESSENGER: (OFF, INSISTENT) Is that the Dover mail?!


GUARD: Why do you want to know?!


MESSENGER: (OFF) I want a passenger, if it is!


GUARD: What passenger?!


MESSENGER: (OFF) Mr. Jarvis Lorry!


GUARD: (TO PASSENGERS) Gentleman of the name of Lorry? Answer straight.


LORRY: Yes, what is it? (TO MESSENGER) Does somebody want me?!


MESSENGER: (OFF) Mr. Lorry?!


LORRY: What's the matter?!


MESSENGER: (OFF) A despatch sent after you from over yonder! Tellson and Company!


LORRY: (TO GUARD) He can come close, guard; there's nothing wrong.


GUARD: I hope there ain't. (TO MESSENGER) Hey, you -- come in at a foot pace!


SOUND: HORSE APPROACHES AT A WALK


GUARD: Let's have the despatch. Here it is, Mr. Lorry.


LORRY: Thank you. Guard, there's nothing to be afraid of. I belong to Tellson's Bank in London. I'm going to Paris on business. May I read this?


GUARD: If so, be as you're quick, sir.


SOUND: DESPATCH OPENED


LORRY: (READS) "Wait for Miss Manette at Dover." (LIGHTLY, TO GUARD) You see, guard, it's not long.


GUARD: Aye.


LORRY: (TO MESSENGER) Ah, messenger!


MESSENGER: Yes, sir?


LORRY: Take back my answer to London. Here it is: "Recalled to life."


MESSENGER: (SLIGHTLY PUZZLED) "Recalled to life"? Yes, Mr. Lorry. 


LORRY: Goodnight.


SOUND: MESSENGER WHIPS THE HORSE AS IT GALLOPS AWAY


GUARD: Tom?


TOM: Hello, Joe.


GUARD: Did you hear that message?


TOM: I did, Joe.


GUARD: What did you make of it, Tom?


TOM: Nothing at all, Joe.


GUARD: Now that's a coin-cy-dence, too. Why, that's just what I made of it meself.


SOUND: BELL AND WHISTLE ... THEN IN BG


CREW: (SHOUTS) This way to the Calais packet! This way to the Calais packet! We sail with the tide, ladies and gentlemen! All aboard for Calais! (NORMAL VOICE) Glad to have you with us again, Mr. Lorry.


LORRY: I'm expecting a young lady aboard, a Miss Manette. She may ask for Mr. Jarvis Lorry or she may ask for a gentleman from Tellson's Bank. But when she comes, will you show her to my cabin?


CREW: Very good, sir. 


SOUND: BELL AND WHISTLE IN BG


CREW: (SHOUTS) We sail with the tide, ladies and gentlemen! All aboard for Calais!


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR, WHICH OPENS


LORRY: Miss Manette? 


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


LORRY: Sit down, if you please.


LUCIE: Thank you.


LORRY: (AWKWARD, HESITANT) Miss Manette, ah, it's very difficult to begin. Miss Manette, I am a man of business. I have a business charge to acquit myself of. Ah, the story relates to one of our customers.


LUCIE: The story?


LORRY: Yes. One of our customers, ah, a French gentleman-- A scientific gentleman, a doctor--


LUCIE: A doctor?


LORRY: Miss Manette, if your father had not died when he did--


LUCIE: (UNHAPPY) Ohhh--


LORRY: Don't be frightened, Miss. As I was saying, if Monsieur Manette had not died; if he had suddenly and silently disappeared; if he had been spirited away to some dreadful place; -- then the history of your father would have been the history of this unfortunate gentleman -- the Doctor of Beauvais.


LUCIE: I entreat you to tell me more, sir.


LORRY: I will; I'm going to. Can you bear it?


LUCIE: I can bear anything but this uncertainty.


LORRY: Miss Manette, your father has been found in the house of an old servant in Paris. We're going there. He is alive.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND LORRY--


LORRY: (NARRATES) In the quarter of Saint Antoine, in a narrow, mean street full of offense and stench, peopled by rags and nightcaps and hunger, smelling of rags and nightcaps and hunger, we found the wine-shop of Dr. Manette's old servant, Ernest Defarge. His wife sat in the shop behind the counter as we came in -- a stout woman, wrapped in fur. She was knitting.


SOUND: SHOP BELL RINGS AS DOOR OPENS


LORRY: Ernest Defarge?


DEFARGE: That's me.


LORRY: May we have a word with you?


DEFARGE: Willingly, sir.


LORRY: My name is Jarvis Lorry of London. This is Miss Manette.


DEFARGE: Come with me, then. I'll take you to him. It's very high; it's a little difficult. Better to begin slowly.


SOUND: THEIR STEPS SLOWLY UP STAIRS ... THEN IN BG


LUCIE: Is he always alone then?


DEFARGE: Yes.


LUCIE: Of his own desire?


DEFARGE: Of necessity.


LUCIE: He is greatly changed?


DEFARGE: Changed? (AMUSED) Heh!


SOUND: STEPS OUT ... KEY RATTLES IN LOCK


LORRY: The door's locked?


DEFARGE: Yes.


LORRY: You think it necessary to keep him locked up?


DEFARGE: I think it necessary to turn the key.


LORRY: Why?


DEFARGE: Why? Because he's lived so long locked up that he'd be frightened -- rave -- tear himself to pieces -- die -- if his door was left open.


LORRY: (DISBELIEF) Is it possible?


DEFARGE: (BITTER) Is it possible? Yes, it is possible in this fine world we live in. Not only possible, but done -- done, see you! -- under that sky there, every day. It'll continue being done until the last of that accursèd race has perished from the face of the earth.


SOUND: DOOR UNLOCKS ... SQUEAKS OPEN BEHIND--


LORRY: Quiet. Let us go in.


SOUND: SLOW, STEADY HAMMERING ... THEN IN BG


LUCIE: I'm afraid of it.


LORRY: Of "it"? What?


LUCIE: I mean of him; my father. Listen. What is that sound?


SOUND: HAMMERING FILLS PAUSE ... THEN IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES, SLOWLY) Faintly, through the dark, with his back toward the door, we saw a white-haired man sitting on a low bench, stooping forward, very busy, making shoes.


LUCIE: (REALIZES) Father.


DEFARGE: Good day, Manette.


MANETTE: (WEAK, HOARSE) Good day.


DEFARGE: Still hard at work, I see.


MANETTE: Yes. Yes, I'm working.


DEFARGE: I want to let in a little more light here. You can bear a little more?


MANETTE: What? What did you say?


DEFARGE: You can bear a little more light?


MANETTE: I must bear it, if you let it in.


DEFARGE: You have a visitor, Manette.


SOUND: HAMMERING STOPS


MANETTE: What did you say?


DEFARGE: Here is a visitor. Show him the shoe you're working at. (TO LORRY) Take it, monsieur. (TO MANETTE) Now tell monsieur the maker's name.


MANETTE: I - I - I forget what it was you asked me.


DEFARGE: The maker's name.


MANETTE: Did you ask me for my name?


DEFARGE: Yes, I did.


MANETTE: One Hundred and Five, North Tower.


DEFARGE: Is that all?


MANETTE: One Hundred and Five, North Tower.


LORRY: (NARRATES) At that moment, his eyes caught the skirt of Lucie's dress. He raised them and saw her face.


MANETTE: (SURPRISED) What - what is this? You're not the gaoler's daughter.


LUCIE: No.


MANETTE: Who are you? Who are you?


LORRY: (NARRATES) She sat down on the bench beside him. Her golden hair, which she wore in long curls, had been hurriedly pushed aside and fell down over her neck. Advancing his hand little by little, he took it up and looked at it.


MANETTE: (CONFUSED, TO HIMSELF) It is the same. How can it be? When was it she laid her head upon my shoulder, that night when I was summoned out? She - she had a fear of my going. (TO LUCIE) Who was this? Was it you? Was it you? No, no, you're too young, it can't be. Can't be, you're too young, too young, too young--


LUCIE: (TEARFUL) Father, Father--


DEFARGE: Mr. Lorry, Dr. Manette is, for all reasons, best out of Paris, best out of France.


LORRY: (NARRATES) The next morning we left for London. As we drove off, we left Monsieur and Madame Defarge standing on the doorstep looking after us. There was that same look of secret dangerous anger in their faces that I had seen before. Madame Defarge was still knitting.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


LORRY: (NARRATES) The next night we were in Calais. There we boarded the packet and after a rough voyage reached England in safety. I was to be reminded of that voyage: five years later, a trial was held at the Old Bailey at which I was summoned to appear in company with Miss Lucie Manette and Dr. Alexandre Manette, all three of us as witnesses for the Crown.


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE ... COURTROOM BACKGROUND (CROWD MURMURS, ET CETERA)


BAILIFF: His Lordship the Judge!


MAN 1: What's coming on?


MAN 2: The treason case.


WOMAN 2: The quartering one?


MAN 2: (LAUGHS, DROPPING HIS AITCHES) He'll be drawn on his hurdle, he will, to be half hanged. Then he'll be taken down and sliced before his own face. Then his head'll be chopped off and it'll be cut in quarters. That's the sentence.


WOMAN 2: If he's found guilty, you mean.


MAN 2: Oh-hoo, they'll find him guilty. Don't be afraid of that.


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE


LORRY: (NARRATES) The prisoner was brought in. A young gentleman of about twenty-five, well-grown and well-looking. He was very pale. For a moment his eyes turned to where we sat; then the indictment was read.


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS FOR--


CLERK: (RAPID, ALMOST INCOMPREHENSIBLE) That you, Charles Darnay, are a false traitor to our serene, illustrious, excellent Prince, our Lord the King, by reason of your having, on diverse occasions, by diverse means and ways, assisted Lewis, the French King, in his wars against our serene, illustrious, excellent Prince, King George: that is to say, by coming and going between dominions of our said serene, illustrious, excellent Prince, and those of the said French Lewis, and wickedly, falsely, traitorously-- (FADES OUT)


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE


JUDGE: Prisoner, do you plead guilty or not guilty?


DARNAY: Not guilty.


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS, THEN IN BG ... GAVEL BANGS TWICE, THEN TWICE MORE


PROSECUTOR: I shall now prove, my Lord, to the satisfaction of yourself and this jury--


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE ... CROWD FINALLY GROWS QUIET BEHIND--


PROSECUTOR: --that the prisoner, Charles Darnay, though young in years, is old in these treasonable practices which today claim forfeit of his life. That this correspondence with our national enemy is not a correspondence of today, nor of yesterday, nor even of last year or the year before that. That as long as five years ago-- (FADES OUT)


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE


BAILIFF: First witness for the Crown, Mr. Jarvis Lorry.


CLERK: (CALLS) Jarvis Lorry.


PROSECUTOR: Mr. Lorry, are you a partner of Tellson's bank?


LORRY: I am.


PROSECUTOR: On a certain night in November, Seventeen Seventy-Five, did business occasion you to travel between Calais and Dover by the packet-ship?


LORRY: It did.


PROSECUTOR: Mr. Lorry, look upon the prisoner. Have you seen him to your certain knowledge before?


LORRY: I have.


PROSECUTOR: When?


LORRY: At Calais that night, the prisoner came aboard the packet and made the voyage with me.


PROSECUTOR: At what hour did he come aboard?


LORRY: A little after midnight.


PROSECUTOR: In the dead of night, eh? Were you traveling alone, Mr. Lorry, or with any companion?


LORRY: With two companions -- a gentleman and a lady. They're here.


PROSECUTOR: They're here! 


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS ... THEN IN BG


BAILIFF: Next witness, Miss Manette!


CLERK: (CALLS) Miss Manette!


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE ... CROWD QUIETS


PROSECUTOR: Miss Manette, look upon the prisoner, Charles Darnay. Miss Manette, have you seen the prisoner before?


LUCIE: Yes, sir.


PROSECUTOR: Where?


LUCIE: On board the packet-ship just referred to, sir.


PROSECUTOR: You are the young lady just referred to?


LUCIE: Most unhappily, I am.


JUDGE: (STERNLY) Answer the questions put to you.


PROSECUTOR: Miss Manette, had you any conversation with the prisoner?


LUCIE: Yes, sir.


PROSECUTOR: Recall it.


LUCIE: When the gentleman came aboard--


JUDGE: You mean the prisoner?


LUCIE: Yes, m'lord.


JUDGE: Then say the prisoner.


LUCIE: When the prisoner came on board--


PROSECUTOR: Did he come on board alone?


LUCIE: No.


PROSECUTOR: How many were with him?


LUCIE: One. A French gentleman.


PROSECUTOR: Did they confer together?


LUCIE: Yes. They seemed angry. I thought I heard the prisoner say, "There is a curse on our house. You have brought a curse on our house."


PROSECUTOR: (SNIDELY) Miss Manette, the court is not interested in what you think you overheard. What conversation did you have with the prisoner?


LUCIE: Soon after we started, he noticed that my father was very tired and in a very weak state of health. The prisoner was very kind and useful to my father. I hope I may not repay him by doing him harm today.


PROSECUTOR: (EXPLODES) The prisoner's conversation, Miss Manette! What did the prisoner say to you?!


LUCIE: He - he told me that he was traveling on business, of a delicate and difficult nature, which might get people into trouble. And that he was therefore traveling under an assumed name. He said that in England-- (FADES OUT)


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE ... CROWD MURMURS, IN BG


PROSECUTOR: Alexandre Manette!


BAILIFF: Dr. Alexandre Manette.


CLERK: Dr. Alexandre Manette.


BAILIFF: Dr. Manette!


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS


PROSECUTOR: Dr. Manette. Look upon the prisoner.


LORRY: (NARRATES) As the old man looked at Darnay, his face for an instant became frozen, as it were. It was a curious look, very intent, deepening into a frown of dislike and distrust, not even unmixed with fear. It passed so quickly that few could have noticed it.


PROSECUTOR: Dr. Manette, have you ever seen this prisoner before?


MANETTE: Once. Once when he called on us at my lodgings, some three years ago.


PROSECUTOR: Can you identify him as your fellow passenger aboard the packet-ship, or recall his conversation with your daughter?


MANETTE: Sir, I can do neither.


PROSECUTOR: Is there any particular and special reason for your being unable to do either?


MANETTE: There is.


PROSECUTOR: Has it been your misfortune to undergo a long imprisonment without trial in your native country, Dr. Manette?


MANETTE: A long imprisonment.


PROSECUTOR: Were you newly released on that occasion?


MANETTE: They tell me so.


PROSECUTOR: Have you no remembrance of the occasion?


MANETTE: None. None. My mind is a blank. From some time, I cannot even say what time, when I was employed in making shoes -- that was in my captivity, too; excuse me, sir -- to the time when I found myself living in London with my dear daughter here, I have no remembrance -- no, no remembrance. (FADES OUT)


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE ... CROWD MURMURS, IN BG


PROSECUTOR: Next witness. Next witness.


BAILIFF: Next witness.


CLERK: Next witness.


PROSECUTOR: Next witness.


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS BEHIND--


LORRY: (NARRATES) Now things began to look black for the prisoner. The prosecution held that previous to that Friday night in November five years ago, Charles Darnay had visited a dockyard town on the south coast of England, and there collected information which he later delivered to the French authorities in Calais. In proof of this, the star witness, who had every appearance of being himself a paid spy, now took the stand and identified Charles Darnay as having been, at the precise time required, in the coffee room of a hotel in that dockyard town, waiting for another person. On this point, counsel for the prisoner tried in vain to shake him.


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS BRIEFLY


DEFENSE: And that is the only time you ever saw this prisoner?


PAID SPY: Yes, your Honor.


DEFENSE: You never saw him before or since?


PAID SPY: No, your Honor, no.


LORRY: (NARRATES) Now, a curious thing happened. A gentleman who had been sitting off by himself all this time, staring up at the ceiling of the court, suddenly came to life, removed his wig, wrote a word or two on a little piece of paper, and tossed it to the prisoner's counsel, who opened it and then looked with great attention and curiosity at the prisoner.


DEFENSE: You say again you are quite sure that it was the prisoner?


PAID SPY: Oh, quite sure, your Honor.


DEFENSE: Did you ever see anybody very like the prisoner?


PAID SPY: Oh, no, your Honor.


DEFENSE: Do you think there could be anybody so like the prisoner that you could be mistaken?


PAID SPY: Oh, no, your Honor.


DEFENSE: But if there were, you would then admit that you might have been mistaken?


PAID SPY: Eh? Oh, yes, your Honor.


DEFENSE: Very well! Look upon Mr. Sidney Carton, my learnèd friend there, without his wig, and then look well upon the prisoner. How say you? Are they not very like each other?


PAID SPY: (STUNNED, SLOWLY) Gor, like as two peas in a pod. Two peas. It ain't natural.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS TWICE


JUDGE: Gentlemen of the jury, do you find the prisoner Charles Darnay guilty or not guilty?


JUROR: Not guilty!


SOUND: CROWD ROARS ... THEN IN BG ... GAVEL BANGS FUTILELY


JUDGE: Order! Order! Order in the court! Order in the court!


BAILIFF: Can't ye behave yourselves?!


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT


LORRY: (NARRATES) The lights were nearly all out in the passages as I left the court with the prisoner, Charles Darnay. There, leaning against the wall in the dark, stood Sidney Carton. There was wine on his breath.


CARTON: (A LITTLE DRUNK) So, now, Mr. Lorry, men of business may speak to Mr. Darnay now, hmm?


LORRY: Sir, we men of business are not free--


CARTON: I know, I know, don't - don't be upset, Mr. Lorry. You're as good as another, I have no doubt. Better, I dare say.


LORRY: Indeed, sir, I really don't know what you have to do with the matter. If you'll excuse me for saying so, I really don't know that it's any of your business, Mr. Carton.


CARTON: Business? Bless you, I have no business.


LORRY: It's a pity you haven't, sir.


CARTON: I think so, too.


LORRY: If you had, perhaps you would attend to it.


CARTON: Lord love you -- no, I shouldn't.


LORRY: (IGNORES CARTON) Mr. Darnay, goodnight. God bless you, my boy. I hope you've been this day preserved for a prosperous and happy life.


DARNAY: Thank you, sir. 


SOUND: CARRIAGE DOOR CLOSES


DARNAY: Goodnight.


SOUND: HORSES PULL CARRIAGE AWAY ... FADES INTO DISTANCE DURING FOLLOWING--


LORRY: (OFF) Goodnight, my boy.


CARTON: Goodnight. Hmmph. Ah, Mr. Darnay?


DARNAY: Yes?


CARTON: Mr. Darnay, this is a strange chance that throws you and me together. This must be a strange night to you, standing alone here with your counterpart on these street stones.


DARNAY: I hardly seem yet to belong to this world again. I feel quite faint.


CARTON: Then why the devil don't you dine?! Let me show you the nearest tavern to dine well at. Come on.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... FADE IN TAVERN BACKGROUND AS CLOCK CHIMES EIGHT ... PLATE AND UTENSIL SET DOWN


CARTON: (A LITTLE DRUNKER) Ah. Now-- Now, Mr. Darnay, now that you've eaten, do you feel that you belong to this terrestrial scheme again? Ah, it must be an immense satisfaction for you. (CALLS) Waiter! Another bottle of wine! (TO DARNAY) As to me, the greatest desire I have is to forget that I belong to it. There's no good in it for me -- except wine like this -- nor I for it. So we're not much alike in that particular, Mr. Darnay. Indeed, I begin to think we're not much alike in any particular, you and I, except that we look alike. Now, your dinner's done; why don't you call a health, Mr. Darnay? Hmm? Why don't you give your toast?


DARNAY: What health? What toast?


CARTON: Why, it's on the tip of your tongue. It ought to be, it must be. Swear it's there.


DARNAY: Well, Miss Manette, then.


CARTON: (CHUCKLES) Miss Manette, then. Miss Manette, that's a fair young lady to hand to a coach in the dark, Mr. Darnay.


DARNAY: Yes.


CARTON: That's a fair young lady to be pitied by and wept for by, huh? How's it feel? Is it worth being tried for one's life to be the object of such sympathy and compassion, Mr. Darnay?


DARNAY: Mr. Carton, you saved my life today; I have not thanked you.


CARTON: I neither want any thanks nor merit any. It was nothing to do, in the first place; and I don't know why I did it, in the second. Mr. Darnay, let me ask you a question.


DARNAY: Willingly.


CARTON: Do you think I particularly like you?


DARNAY: Really, Mr. Carton, I have not asked myself the question.


CARTON: Ask yourself the question now.


DARNAY: You have acted as if you do, but I don't think you do.


CARTON: I don't think I do.


DARNAY: Nevertheless, there is nothing in that, I hope, Mr. Carton, to prevent my calling the reckoning and our parting without ill blood on either side.


CARTON: Oh, nothing in life, huh? 


SOUND: DARNAY RINGS BELL FOR WAITER


CARTON: Oh, huh-- Oh, you pay the whole reckoning, Mr. Darnay? Then ah-- (CALLS) Er, bring me another pint of this same wine, drawer, and come and wake me at ten! (TO DARNAY) Ah, last word, Mr. Darnay. You think I'm drunk?


DARNAY: I think you have been drinking, Mr. Carton.


CARTON: Think? You know I've been drinking.


DARNAY: Well, since I must say so, yes, I know it!


CARTON: Then you shall likewise know why. I am a disappointed drudge, sir. I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me.


DARNAY: Well, that is very much to be regretted, Mr. Carton. You might have used your talents better.


CARTON: Maybe so, Mr. Darnay. Maybe so, maybe not, but don't let your sober face elate you, however; you - you don't know what it may come to. Goodnight, Mr. Darnay. 


SOUND: TAVERN DOOR SHUTS AS DARNAY EXITS


CARTON: (CALLS) Drawer?! Drawer?! Where's that bottle of wine?!


SOUND: CARTON DRUNKENLY STUMBLES INTO TABLE, KNOCKING IT OR HIMSELF OVER WITH A CRASH


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: You are listening to the Columbia network's presentation of Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre in Charles Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities." We pause a moment now for station identification. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.


SOUND: PAUSE FOR STATION IDENTIFICATION


ANNOUNCER: The Columbia network is presenting "A Tale of Two Cities" and the Mercury Theatre resumes the story with Orson Welles as Dr. Manette and Sidney Carton.


MUSIC: FOR BRIEF INTRO ... THEN BEHIND LORRY--


LORRY: (NARRATES) The years passed. In the quarter of Saint Antoine, in the wine-shop in the narrow, mean streets, little groups of men gather to talk, and scatter quickly when a stranger enters. Madame Defarge still works at her knitting.


SOUND: SHOP BELL RINGS AS DOOR OPENS


SPY: You knit with great skill, Madame Defarge.


MME. DEFARGE: I am accustomed to it.


SPY: A pretty pattern.


MME. DEFARGE: You think so?


SPY: Strange, too. It looks like many names knitted there. But that can't be.


MME. DEFARGE: No, that can't be.


SPY: May I ask what it's for?


MME. DEFARGE: Pass time, pass time.


SPY: Not for use?


MME. DEFARGE: That depends. I may find a use for it one day, who knows? If I do, well, I'll use it.


SPY: Madame Defarge?


MME. DEFARGE: Yes?


SPY: I have news that may interest you. News from England. Dr. Manette--


MME. DEFARGE: (QUICKLY) Yes?


SPY: I perceive you know the name.


MME. DEFARGE: Yes.


SPY: His daughter, Miss Manette, is going to be married in England. There is a curious thing about this marriage.


MME. DEFARGE: Yes?


SPY: What it comes to is this: Miss Manette, daughter of Dr. Alexandre Manette, is going to marry the Marquis de Saint Evrémonde.


MME. DEFARGE: (UNHAPPY) Oh.


SPY: I perceive you know that name, too.


MME. DEFARGE: Yes.


SPY: In England, of course, he does not go under that name. He is called Mr. Charles Darnay. Mr. Charles Darnay.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN


MME. DEFARGE: Defarge? Defarge?


DEFARGE: Yes? What is it?


MME. DEFARGE: Is it true, do you think, what he said of Mademoiselle Manette?


DEFARGE: If it is--


MME. DEFARGE: If it is--?


DEFARGE: If it is true, then when our day does come, I hope for her sake destiny will keep her husband out of France.


MME. DEFARGE: Her husband's destiny will take him where he is to go, and will lead him to the end that is to end him. That is all I know.


SOUND: OMINOUS RUMBLE ... THEN IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES) Madame Defarge sits there knitting names into a scarf -- noble names: Lausanne, Lombal, Guy, Saint Evrémonde. Darkness is closing around. And then comes the ringing of the church bells.


SOUND: RINGING CHURCH BELLS JOIN OMINOUS RUMBLE, IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES, TENSELY) She sits knitting, knitting. Now the darkness is closing in when the church bells will soon be melted into thunder cannon, when the drums shall be beating to drown a wretched voice. 


VOICE: (BLOODCURDLING SCREAM)


SOUND: BELLS OUT AS RUMBLE HITS A PEAK, THEN FADES OUT BEHIND--


LORRY: (NARRATES, SLOWLY) And Madame Defarge, at the foot of a structure yet unbuilt, will sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads. (BEAT, QUICKER) London, Seventeen Eighty-Nine.


MUSIC: FOR THE GENTLE JOY BEFORE THE WEDDING ... PLEASANT STRINGS ... THEN IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES) Never did I see two people more united than Dr. Manette and his daughter in the weeks before Lucie's marriage to Charles Darnay.


LUCIE: Are you happy, my dear father?


MANETTE: My child, I never thought I should live to know such happiness.


MUSIC: OUT WITH--


SOUND: DOORBELL RINGS


LORRY: (NARRATES) An occasional visitor to their house in Soho Square was Sidney Carton. He was not improved in habits or in looks or in manner. His air of debauchery was as if-- Ah, well, even more pronounced -- and it seemed to me that he was behaving with even less delicacy than usual when he presented himself one afternoon, only a few days before Lucie's marriage, and asked to see Miss Manette alone. He was shown upstairs.


CARTON: Miss Manette, will you hear me?


LUCIE: Yes, Mr. Carton.


CARTON: Miss Manette, I know very well that you can have no tenderness for me; I ask for none. I'm even thankful that it cannot be.


LUCIE: Without it, is there nothing I can do for you, Mr. Carton?


CARTON: All you can ever do for me is done. I wish you to know that you've been the last dream of my soul. In my degradation, I've not been so degraded but that the sight of you with your father, and of this house, has stirred old shadows that I thought had died out of me. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing and leaves the sleeper where he lay down. But I wish you to know that you inspired it.


LUCIE: Will nothing of it remain?


CARTON: No, Miss Manette, no. No, I shall never be better than I am. I'm like one who died young. All my life might have been. Don't be afraid. I'll never refer to this again -- only, only, in the hour of my death I shall hold sacred this one good remembrance: that my last avowal of myself was made to you and that my name and faults and miseries were gently carried in your heart. Do you believe this of me, Miss Manette?


LUCIE: I do.


CARTON: And this, too, believe: for you and for any dear to you, I would do anything. Remember sometimes. Remember that there is a man who would give his life to keep a life you love beside you. (BEAT) Goodbye, Lucie. Goodbye.


MUSIC: OMINOUS DRUM ROLL, FOR TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG--


LORRY: (NARRATES) Paris, Seventeen Eighty-Nine. July fourteenth. In the quarter of Saint Antoine, something is happening. 


SOUND: MURMUR OF CROWD, IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES) In the

narrow, mean streets smelling of rags and nightcaps and hunger, all night crowds have been stirring. Soon after dawn, Madame Defarge puts down her knitting.


MME. DEFARGE: Defarge, at last it has come.


DEFARGE: Yes, our day has come.


SOUND: CROWD MURMUR GROWS LOUDER ... CONTINUES IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES) And that's why this morning is a vast, dusky mass of scarecrows heaving to and fro, with gleams of light above the billowy heads, where steel blades and bayonets shine in the sun. Now the mass begins to move.


CITIZEN 1: Patriots and friends, we are ready. To the Bastille!


MUSIC: DRUM ROLL UP AND OUT ... THEN BAND PLAYS A MARCH ... THEN IN BG


SOUND: BELL RINGS ... THEN IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES) The living sea rises, wave on wave, depth on depth, overflowing the city. After two hours, a white flag from within the fortress. The sea rises wider and higher: over the lowered drawbridge, past the massive stone outer walls, in among the eight great towers surrendered.


MUSIC: OUT WITH--


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS ... THEN MURMURS ANGRILY IN BG--


CITIZEN 1: The prisoners!


CITIZEN 2: The records!


CITIZEN 3: The secret cells!


CITIZEN 2: The instruments of torture!


CITIZEN 1: The prisoners!


CITIZEN 3: The secret cells!


DEFARGE: (LOW, INTENSE) The North Tower-- What is the meaning of One Hundred Five, North Tower? Quick!


PRISON GUARD: It is a cell, Citizen.


DEFARGE: Show it to me. There is something hidden there that I must find.


PRISON GUARD: Pass this way, Citizen Defarge.


SOUND: CROWD OUT WITH--


MUSIC: DRUM ROLL FOR TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


LORRY: (NARRATES) Three years go by. The king of France and the queen of France have paid with their lives for the suffering of the people. Day after day, fresh victims are driven through the streets of Paris to feed this new monster which lives on human blood, the guillotine. And, at its foot, day after day, sit the women -- knitting, knitting. (BEAT) London, Seventeen Ninety-Two. The headquarters in the great gathering place of those who fled from France in those troubled years was Tellson's Bank.


BANK CLERK: Letter for Marquis de Saint Aupont.


AUPONT: Here!


BANK CLERK: Vicomte de l'Isle? Vicomte de l'Isle?


LORRY: (READS) "Arrested at Calais, executed."


BANK CLERK: Baron de Nouville?


LORRY: (READS) "Arrested, executed."


BANK CLERK: Marquis de Saint Evrémonde? Marquis de Saint Evrémonde?


DARNAY: Here.


BANK CLERK: (SURPRISED) Mr. Darnay?


DARNAY: I'll take it.


LORRY: (PUZZLED) Charles Darnay? I didn't know that you were familiar with--


DARNAY: I'll take charge of the letter, Mr. Lorry.


LORRY: You know where to deliver it?


DARNAY: I do. If there's any answer, I'll let you know.


SOUND: DARNAY'S STEPS AWAY ... DOOR CLOSES


DARNAY: (READS) "Sir, heretofore the Marquis Charles de Saint Evrémonde. I have been seized and brought to Paris. The crime for which I am to lose my life is, they tell me, treason against the majesty of the people, in that I have acted against them for an emigrant. You are that emigrant. It is in vain that I tell them that even before the confiscation of emigrant property, according to your commands, I had collected no rent and forced no taxes. Their only answer is that I have acted for an emigrant; where is that emigrant? I beg you, Monsieur heretofore the Marquis, to come to my rescue and release me. I pray you, be true to me. Your poor servant."


MUSIC: DRUM ROLL OUT WITH-- 


SOUND: KNOCK AT DOOR, WHICH OPENS


LORRY: Yes, Darnay?


DARNAY: I have the answer to that letter.


LORRY: So soon?


DARNAY: It is to a prisoner in the La Force Prison in Paris.


LORRY: And what is the message?


DARNAY: Simply that he has received the letter and will come.


LORRY: (NARRATES) Three days later, a few leagues out of Calais on the Paris road, Charles Darnay was arrested.


SOUND: DOOR SHUTS


DARNAY: (UPSET) Citizen! I beg you to observe that I came here of my own free will in answer to that written appeal that lies before you. Is that not my right?


OFFICER: Right? Emigrants have no rights. You're consigned, Evrémonde, to the Prison of La Conciergerie.


DARNAY: Just Heaven! Under what law? For what offense?


OFFICER: We have new laws, Aristocrat, and new offenses since you were here.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND LORRY--


LORRY: (NARRATES) News reached London through a secret agent of Tellson's Bank that Charles Darnay was in prison, in danger of death. Three days later we were in Paris -- Lucie with her child and Dr. Manette.


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR 


LORRY: Come in.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


DEFARGE: Good evening, Citizen. Do you know me?


LORRY: I've seen you somewhere.


DEFARGE: Perhaps at my wine-shop.


LORRY: (NARRATES) I noticed, standing in the door, a heavily built woman, silently knitting. (TO MME. DEFARGE) Madame Defarge?


MME. DEFARGE: Yes.


DEFARGE: That she may be able to recognize the faces and know the persons. 


MME. DEFARGE: It is for their safety.


SOUND: ANOTHER DOOR OPENS


LUCIE: Mr. Lorry?


LORRY: Lucie, this man has a letter for you from Charles.


LUCIE: Oh, thank you. (BEAT, READS) "Dearest, take courage. I am well and your father has influence around me. You cannot answer this. Kiss our child for me."


MME. DEFARGE: Is that his child?


LORRY: Yes, madame. This is the prisoner's little child.


MME. DEFARGE: (TO DEFARGE) It is enough, my husband, that I have seen them. We may go.


LUCIE: Oh, madame!


MME. DEFARGE: Yes, Aristocrat?


LUCIE: Madame, you will be good to my husband? You will help me to see him if you can?


MME. DEFARGE: What is it that your husband says in that little letter? Influence, no? He says something about influence?


LUCIE: He says--


MME. DEFARGE: Perhaps it will release him.


LUCIE: As a wife and a mother, I implore you to have pity on me! My husband is innocent!


MME. DEFARGE: The wives and mothers we have been used to see have not been greatly pitied. All our lives we have seen our women suffer -- poverty, hunger, thirst, sickness, misery.


DEFARGE: We have seen nothing else.


MME. DEFARGE: We have borne this a long time. Is it likely the trouble of one wife and mother would be much to us now? Goodbye, Aristocrat.


MUSIC: TRANSITION


CITIZEN JUDGE: Charles Evrémonde, called Darnay! Charles Evrémonde, called Darnay!


SOUND: CROWD JEERS ... THEN MURMURS IN BG


CITIZEN 1: Take off his head!


CITIZEN 2: An enemy to the Republic!


CITIZEN JUDGE: Prisoner, is it true that you have lived many years in England?


DARNAY: That is true.


CITIZEN JUDGE: And you are an emigrant?


DARNAY: No, Citizen Judge.


CITIZEN JUDGE: Prisoner, why did you return to France when you did?


DARNAY: I returned to France on the written entreaty of a French citizen, to save a French citizen's life. Is that the action of a guilty man? Is that criminal in the eyes of the Republic?


SOUND: CROWD JEERS


CITIZEN JUDGE: Citizen Dr. Manette? Citizen Dr. Manette, take the stand. Dr. Manette, do you know this prisoner?


MANETTE: I do.


CITIZEN JUDGE: Where did you first make the prisoner's acquaintance?


MANETTE: In England, Citizen Judge, on my release from long imprisonment. This man is my first friend. For years he has lived in my house, always faithful and devoted to my daughter and myself in our exile. In all the years that I've known this man, I, Dr. Manette, for eighteen years, prisoner in the Bastille--


CITIZEN 1: Enough, enough! Live, Dr. Manette!


CITIZEN 2: Not guilty!


CITIZEN 3: Not guilty! Release the prisoner!


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS AGREEMENT AND CHANTS "NOT GUILTY, NOT GUILTY," ET CETERA ... CROWD QUIETS BEHIND--


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Citizens! Citizens! Wait! This prisoner has been denounced for a crime against the Republic. Before this prisoner is released, I demand, in the name of the Republic, that this denunciation be read aloud.


CITIZEN 2: Why waste time? 


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS AGREEMENT ... THEN QUIETS BEHIND--


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: (READS, WITH GUSTO) Charles Evrémonde! Charles Evrémonde, called Darnay! Suspected and denounced enemy of the Republic, aristocrat, one of the family of tyrants, one of a race proscribed. Charles Evrémonde, called Darnay, in right of such proscription, doomed to die.


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS UNHAPPILY ... THEN QUIETS BEHIND--


PRESIDENT: Was the Accused denounced openly or secretly?


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Openly, President.


PRESIDENT: By whom?


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Three voices. First, Ernest Defarge, wine vendor, of Saint Antoine.


PRESIDENT: Good.


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Second, Thérèse Defarge, his wife.


PRESIDENT: Good.


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Third, Alexandre Manette, physician.


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS SURPRISE AND PUZZLEMENT


MANETTE: President, I protest! This is a forgery and a fraud. The Accused is the husband of my daughter. Who says that I denounce the husband of my child?!


PRESIDENT: Citizen Manette, be still. If the Republic should demand of you the sacrifice of your child, you would have no duty but to sacrifice her. Be silent! 


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS ITS OBJECTION


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: On the fourteenth of July, Seventeen Eighty-Nine, at the taking of the Bastille, a paper was found by Citizen Ernest Defarge, concealed between two stones in the chimney of a cell -- no less, One Hundred and Five, North Tower. The writing is the writing of Dr. Manette. (READS) "I, Alexandre Manette--"


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS ITS OBJECTION


PRESIDENT: Let it be read!


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS A LITTLE BUT CONTINUES TO MURMUR UNEASILY, IN BG


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: (READS) "I, Alexandre Manette, unfortunate physician, write this melancholy paper in my doleful cell in the Bastille. Hope has quite departed from my--" (FADES OUT)


SOUND: TO INDICATE PASSAGE OF TIME, THE PROSECUTOR'S VOICE IS TOPPED BY THE CROWD'S MURMUR ... CROWD QUIETS AS PROSECUTOR FINISHES READING


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: (READS) "And them and their descendants, to the last of their race, I, Alexandre Manette, unhappy prisoner, do this last night of the year, Seventeen Sixty-Seven, in my unbearable agony, denounce to the times when all those things shall be answered for. I denounce them to Heaven and earth." Death!


CROWD: (CHANTING, INCREASINGLY LOUD) Death! Death! Death! Death! Death! Death! Death! Death! Death!


MUSIC: TOPS THE CROWD ... FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN DRUM ROLL BEHIND LORRY--


LORRY: (NARRATES) All day, tumbrils go through the streets, feeding the guillotine, and at its foot, splashed with blood, sit the women knitting late into the night, counting dropping heads.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS


CARTON: (MERRILY) Don't be alarmed, Mr. Lorry. Don't be alarmed, I'm quite sober.


LORRY: (SURPRISED) Sidney Carton!


CARTON: Heh! Now, Mr. Lorry, listen carefully to what I have to say.


LORRY: But, Carton--


CARTON: Don't waste time asking questions. First, Mr. Lorry, here is the certificate which enables me to pass out of the city. You see? "Sidney Carton, an Englishman."


LORRY: Yes?


CARTON: Yes. Keep it for me until tomorrow. I have arranged to see Charles Darnay in prison in the morning, and I had better not take it with me, do you understand?


LORRY: Why not?


CARTON: I - I prefer not to do so. Now, take this paper. It's a certificate enabling Dr. Manette and his daughter and her child, at any time, to pass the barrier on the frontier -- you see?


LORRY: Yes, but they're--


CARTON: You can buy the means of traveling to the coast as quickly as the journey can be made. Do you have money? Order your horses to be ready at two in the afternoon. (NO RESPONSE) Well?!


LORRY: It shall be done. 


CARTON: Tell Lucie tonight -- for the sake of her child and her father-- Tell her and press upon her the necessity of leaving Paris with them and with you at that hour. Tell her it was her husband's last wish. Do you think she'll consent?


LORRY: I believe so.


CARTON: Have all these arrangements made in the courtyard here, even to the taking of your own seat in the carriage, and then -- the moment I come to you, take me in and drive me away. Do you understand that?


LORRY: I understand that, whatever happens, I am to wait for you.


CARTON: You have my certificate in your hand with the rest. The instant my place is occupied, you start for England. Promise me solemnly that nothing will make you alter the course on which we now stand pledged to each other!


LORRY: Nothing, Carton.


CARTON: Remember these words tomorrow, remember them! Change the course or delay for any reason, and no life can possibly be saved. Many lives dear to us must inevitably be sacrificed.


LORRY: I will remember them. I hope to do my part faithfully.


CARTON: Yes, yes. And I hope to do mine.


MUSIC: OMINOUS DRUM ROLL ... IN AND BEHIND LORRY--


LORRY: (NARRATES) In the black prison of the Conciergerie, the doomed of the day await their fate. They are fifty-two. Even before their cells are quit of them, new occupants have been appointed. Before their blood runs into the blood spilled yesterday, the blood that is to mingle with theirs tomorrow is already set apart.


MUSIC: DRUM ROLL OUT ... CLANG! OF CHURCH BELL FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN OUT


SOUND: ECHOING FOOTSTEPS TO PRISON CELL ... KEY IN LOCK, CELL DOOR OPENS


CARTON: Is this the one?


GAOLER: Yes, this is the one. Go you in alone. I wait outside. Lose no time.


SOUND: CELL DOOR CLOSES


CARTON: Good day, Mr. Darnay.


DARNAY: (SURPRISED) Carton.


CARTON: Once more we meet.


DARNAY: Are you a prisoner, too?


CARTON: No, I happen to be possessed of a power over one of your keepers here. I come from your wife, Darnay. I bring you a request from her.


DARNAY: What is it?


CARTON: A most secret, earnest, pressing entreaty. No time to ask me why I bring it or what it means -- I have no time to tell you; you must comply with it. Take off these boots you wear and draw on mine. Here's a chair, now, hurry!


DARNAY: Why?


CARTON: (URGENT) Draw on these boots of mine, put your hands to them, put your will to them, quick!


DARNAY: Carton, there's no escaping from this place. It can never be done. You'll only die with me. It's madness.


CARTON: It would be madness if I asked you to escape, but do I? Of course not. Change that cravat for this of mine. Go on.


DARNAY: Carton, Carton, this is madness! It can't be done; it never can be done. It has been attempted; it has always failed.


CARTON: Do I ask you, dear Darnay, to pass the door? When I ask you that, then refuse me. There are pen and ink and paper on this table. Is your hand steady enough to write?


DARNAY: Why, yes.


CARTON: Then write what I shall dictate. Quick, friend, quick! Write exactly as I speak.


DARNAY: To whom do I address it?


CARTON: To no one.


DARNAY: Do I date it?


CARTON: No. Now-- (DICTATES) "If you remember the words that passed between us long ago, you will understand this when you see it. You do remember them, I know. It is not in your nature to forget them." Have you written "forget them?"


DARNAY: I have. Is that a weapon in your hand?


CARTON: No, I'm not armed.


DARNAY: What is in your hand?


CARTON: You shall know directly. Write on. I've but a few words more. (DICTATES) "I am thankful the time has come when I can prove them. That I do so is no subject for regret or grief."


DARNAY: What is that vapor?


CARTON: Vapor?


DARNAY: Something in the air?


CARTON: I'm conscious of nothing. Take up the pen and finish. Hurry. Hurry! (DICTATES) "If it had been otherwise, I should have had so much the more to answer for." (HALF TO HIMSELF) If it had been otherwise--


DARNAY: (REPEATS, WEAKLY) "If it had been otherwise--"


SOUND: DARNAY SLUMPS AGAINST TABLE UNCONSCIOUS


DARNAY: (EXHALES)


CARTON: Darnay? (NO ANSWER) Darnay? (NO ANSWER) Good! (TO GAOLER) Hey, there! Quick! Come in. 


SOUND: CELL DOOR OPENS


CARTON: Help me change his coat. 


GAOLER: Right.


CARTON: Now, call for help, take me to the coach.


GAOLER: (CONFUSED) You?


CARTON: (QUICKLY) Him, man -- with whom I've changed. You go out by the gate by which you brought me in.


GAOLER: Of course.


CARTON: I was weak and faint, and you brought me in and I'm fainter; now you take me out. The parting has overcome us. Such things happen here often, too often. Quick, call for help!


GAOLER: You swear not to betray me?


CARTON: Man, man! Don't waste time! Take him yourself to the courtyard you know of. Place him yourself in the carriage. Show him yourself to Mr. Lorry and tell him to remember my words of last night and his promise of last night, and - drive away.


GAOLER: (CALLS, BELLOWING) Heeeeeeeey, there! Hey! Help! Man fainted!


SOUND: CLANG! OF CHURCH BELL FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN AGAIN WITH TROTTING HORSES AND CARRIAGE IN BG


OFFICIAL: Halt! Who goes there? 


SOUND: CARRIAGE PULLS TO A STOP


OFFICIAL: Who's inside? Papers? (BEAT, READS) "Alexandre Manette, physician, French. Lucie, his daughter, French." Lucie, wife of Evrémonde -- is that right? (BEAT, AMUSED) Huh! Evrémonde has an appointment elsewhere today, I believe. (READS) "Lucie, their child, English. Sidney Carton, lawyer, English." (BEAT) English lawyer appears to be sleeping. (READS) "Jarvis Lorry, banker, English." (PLEASANT) Go ahead, you can depart, Citizens. A good journey.


SOUND: OMINOUS BELL TOLLS THREE TIMES AS CARRIAGE DEPARTS ... SEGUE TO ECHOING FOOTSTEPS TO CELL DOOR, WHICH OPENS


GAOLER 2: Follow me, Evrémonde.


CARTON: I am ready.


SOUND: FADE IN MURMUR OF TEEMING, JEERING CROWD ... THEN IN BG


BYSTANDER 1: Down, Evrémonde!


BYSTANDER 2: Down, Evrémonde!


BYSTANDER 1: Which is Evrémonde?!


BYSTANDER 3: There, at the back, there! Next to the girl!


BYSTANDER 1: That's him!


BYSTANDER 2: Down, Evrémonde!


BYSTANDER 3: To the guillotine!


SOUND: CROWD YELLS AGREEMENT ... CONTINUES IN BG


BYSTANDER 1: To the guillotine!


SOUND: CROWD FALLS SILENT AS GUILLOTINE BLADE DROPS ... THUMP! OF HEAD CUT OFF


WOMAN 3: Eighteen!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS ... THEN FALLS SILENT


SEAMSTRESS: Citizen Evrémonde, do you remember me? I'm the poor little seamstress who was with you in the prison.


CARTON: (HAS NEVER LAID EYES ON HER BUT PLAYS ALONG) Huh? Oh, true. I forget -- what were you accused for?


SEAMSTRESS: Plots. Is it likely? Who would think of plotting with a poor little weak creature like me?


SOUND: GUILLOTINE BLADE DROPS ... THUMP! OF HEAD CUT OFF


WOMAN 3: Nineteen!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS ... THEN FALLS SILENT


SEAMSTRESS: I'm not afraid to die, but I have done nothing. Citizen Evrémonde, will you let me hold your hand? I'm not afraid, but I am little and weak. It will give me more courage.


SOUND: GUILLOTINE BLADE DROPS ... THUMP! OF HEAD CUT OFF


WOMAN 3: Twenty!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS ... THEN FALLS SILENT


CARTON: Keep your eyes upon me, dear child. Keep your eyes on me. Mind nothing else.


SEAMSTRESS: I'll mind nothing while I hold your hand. I shall mind nothing when I let it go, if they are quick.


CARTON: They'll be quick. Never fear.


SOUND: GUILLOTINE BLADE DROPS ... THUMP! OF HEAD CUT OFF


WOMAN 3: Twenty-one!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS ... THEN FALLS SILENT


SEAMSTRESS: Is the moment come?


CARTON: Yes.


SEAMSTRESS: May I kiss you now? I'm so afraid.


CARTON: My child, there's nothing to fear. I see these men around me, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this same instrument of retribution, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see-- (CHUCKLES) I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. You know, I see her father restored and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see her, at this moment, with a child upon her bosom who bears my name. And I hear her tell the child my story with a tender and a faltering voice.


GAOLER 2: (TO SEAMSTRESS) Number twenty-two.


CARTON: Goodbye, little one.


SOUND: SEAMSTRESS' STEPS TO GUILLOTINE ... THEN IN BG


SEAMSTRESS: Goodbye.


SOUND: SEAMSTRESS' STEPS STOP ... PAUSE ... GUILLOTINE BLADE DROPS ... THUMP! OF HEAD CUT OFF


WOMAN 3: Twenty-two!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS ... THEN FALLS SILENT


GAOLER 2: (TO CARTON) Number twenty-three.


CARTON: Right, Citizen.


SOUND: CARTON'S STEPS TO GUILLOTINE ... THEY STOP


CARTON: It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I've ever done. It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.


SOUND: GUILLOTINE BLADE DROPS ... THUMP! OF HEAD CUT OFF


WOMAN 3: Twenty-three!


SOUND: CROWD CHEERS ... THEN FALLS SILENT


MUSIC: "LA MARSEILLAISE" ... FOR CURTAIN ... THEN OUT BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: Tonight, the Columbia network has brought you Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in the "Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. We now present the star and director of these broadcasts, who tonight played Dr. Manette and Sidney Carton -- Orson Welles.


WELLES: Ladies and gentlemen, I should like first to thank the actors of the Mercury Theatre who played with us tonight. Among them were Martin Gabel as Mr. Lorry, Ray Collins as the Prosecutor, Edgar Barrier as Charles Darnay, Frank Readick as Defarge, Eustace Wyatt as the Clerk and the Judge, Kenneth Delmar as the Counselor for the Defense, Betty Garde as Madame Defarge, Erskine Sanford as the President, Mary Taylor as Lucie Manette. Tonight's production was done at your request, and we intend to choose later works in this series on the basis of your letters to us. We're reading all the letters with the greatest of interest, and we thank you for your valuable suggestions. And now, goodnight, ladies and gentlemen, until next Monday at this same time.


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: Tonight's production by the Mercury Theatre on the Air was heard on both the CBS network and through the stations of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Bernard Herrmann conducted the music and Davidson Taylor supervised for the Columbia network. Dan Seymour speaking. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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