But, as the fingers went, the eyes went, and the thoughts. And as Madame
Defarge moved on from group to group, all three went quicker and fiercer among
every little knot of women that she had spoken with, and left behind.
But as they worked their fingers, their eyes and minds worked hard. And as
Madame Defarge moved from group to group, her fingers, eyes, and thoughts got
quicker and angrier with every group of women she stopped by to visit with.
Her husband smoked at his door, looking after her with admiration. “A great
woman,” said he, “a strong woman, a grand woman, a frightfully grand
Monsieur Defarge stood smoking in his doorway. He watched her admiringly.
“She’s a great woman,” he said. “A strong, magnificent woman!”
Darkness closed around, and then came the ringing of church bells and the
distant beating of the military drums in the Palace Courtyard, as the women sat
knitting, knitting. Darkness encompassed them. Another darkness was closing in
as surely, when the church bells, then ringing pleasantly in many an airy
steeple over France, should be melted into thundering cannon; when the military
drums should be beating to drown a wretched voice, that night all potent as the
voice of Power and Plenty, Freedom and Life. So much was closing in about the
women who sat knitting, knitting, that they their very selves were closing in
around a structure yet unbuilt, where they were to sit knitting, knitting,
counting dropping heads.
Night came. The church bells rang, and the beating of soldier’s drums in the
Palace Courtyard could be heard. The women sat knitting in the darkness. Another
darkness was closing in for sure when the church bells, which were ringing
pleasantly in the tall church steeples all over France, would be melted down to
make cannons. When the military drums would be beating to drown out the voice of
the peasants, which that night was as strong as the voices of Power, Plenty,
Freedom, and Life. Darkness was closing in around the women who sat there
knitting. Soon there would be a structure built in that same spot, where these
women would one day sit knitting and counting the number of heads that were to
be chopped off.