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The courtroom crowd pours into the streets to celebrate Darnay’s condemnation. John Barsad, charged with ushering Darnay back to his cell, lets Lucie embrace her husband one last time. Darnay insists that Doctor Manette not blame himself for the trial’s outcome. Darnay is escorted back to his cell to await his execution the following morning, and Carton escorts the grieving Lucie to her apartment. Carton tells Manette to try his influence one last time with the prosecutors and then meet him at Tellson’s, though Lorry feels certain that there is no hope for Darnay, and Carton echoes the sentiment.
Carton goes to Defarge’s wine shop. The Defarges marvel at how much he physically resembles the condemned Darnay. Carton overhears Madame Defarge’s plan to accuse Lucie and Manette of spying, and to accuse Lucie’s daughter as well. Defarge himself finds this course unnecessary, but his wife reminds him of her grievance against the family Evrémonde: she is the surviving sister of the woman and man killed by the Marquis and his brother. She demands the extermination of their heirs. Carton pays for his wine and returns to Tellson’s.
At midnight, Manette arrives home completely out of his mind. He looks about madly for his shoemaking bench. After calming Manette, Carton takes from the doctor’s coat the papers that will allow Lucie, the doctor, and the child to leave the city. He gives the documents to Lorry. Then, Carton gives Lorry his own papers, refusing to explain why. Afraid that the papers may soon be recalled because Madame Defarge intends to denounce the entire family, Carton insists to Lorry that time is of the essence: the family must leave tomorrow. Alone in the street that night, Carton utters a final good-bye and blessing to Lucie.
Fifty-two people have been condemned to die the next day. Darnay resolves to meet his death bravely. Carton appears at the door to Darnay’s cell, and Darnay observes something new and bright in Carton’s face. Carton tricks Darnay into switching clothes with him, dictates a letter of explanation, and then drugs him with the substance that he had purchased at the chemist’s shop. He orders Barsad to carry the unconscious Darnay to the carriage waiting outside Tellson’s. At two o’clock, guards take Carton from Darnay’s cell, believing him to be Darnay. He stands in the long line of the condemned. A poor seamstress, also falsely sentenced to death, realizes that Carton is not Darnay and asks, “Are you dying for him?” He replies, “And his wife and child.” Meanwhile, Barsad delivers the real Darnay to Manette, Lorry, and Lucie, and sends the carriage on its way. Lorry presents the family’s papers at the city gates as they leave. They flee through the countryside, fearing pursuit.
Meanwhile, Madame Defarge heads toward Lucie’s apartment to try to catch Lucie in the illegal act of mourning a prisoner. Evidence of such a crime, she believes, will strengthen her case against the family. At the apartment, Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher are in the middle of making final arrangements to depart Paris. To avoid drawing the suspicion that leaving together might engender, Miss Pross tells Cruncher to wait for her with the carriage at the cathedral. When Cruncher leaves, Madame Defarge barges in and demands to know Lucie’s whereabouts. The women fight, and Madame Defarge draws a gun. In the struggle, however, Miss Pross shoots her. She meets Cruncher as planned and reports that she has gone deaf from the gunshot.
Crush humanity out of shape once more . . . and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of . . . oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.
Carton and the young seamstress reach the guillotine. The Vengeance and the other revolutionary women worry that Madame Defarge will miss the beheading of Charles Darnay. The seamstress reflects that the new Republic may make life easier for poor people like herself and her surviving cousin. She kisses Carton and goes calmly to her death. Carton then goes to his.