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A Tale of Two Cities

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Wretched old sinner of more than threescore years and ten, if he had never known it yet, he would have known it in his heart of hearts if he could have heard the answering cry. They all shouted so loudly that a miserable old man more than seventy years old would have known in his heart that Defarge was right.
A moment of profound silence followed. Defarge and his wife looked steadfastly at one another. The Vengeance stooped, and the jar of a drum was heard as she moved it at her feet behind the counter. A moment of profound silence followed. Defarge and his wife looked steadily at each other. The Vengeance stooped over, and the bang of a drum was heard as she moved out from behind the counter at her feet.
“Patriots!” said Defarge, in a determined voice, “are we ready?” “Patriots!” said Defarge firmly. “Are we ready?”
Instantly Madame Defarge’s knife was in her girdle; the drum was beating in the streets, as if it and a drummer had flown together by magic; and The Vengeance, uttering terrific shrieks, and flinging her arms about her head like all the forty Furies at once, was tearing from house to house, rousing the women. Instantly Madame Defarge had her knife in her girdle. The drum was beating in the street as if it and the drummer had come together by magic. The Vengeance, shrieking loudly and flinging her arms around over her head like all forty

Furies

snake-haired winged goddesses in Greek mythology who punished wrongdoing

Furies
, was running from house to house, calling the women to action.
The men were terrible, in the bloody-minded anger with which they looked from windows, caught up what arms they had, and came pouring down into the streets; but, the women were a sight to chill the boldest. From such household occupations as their bare poverty yielded, from their children, from their aged and their sick crouching on the bare ground famished and naked, they ran out with streaming hair, urging one another, and themselves, to madness with the wildest cries and actions. Villain Foulon taken, my sister! Old Foulon taken, my mother! Miscreant Foulon taken, my daughter! Then, a score of others ran into the midst of these, beating their breasts, tearing their hair, and screaming, Foulon alive! Foulon who told the starving people they might eat grass! Foulon who told my old father that he might eat grass, when I had no bread to give him! Foulon who told my baby it might suck grass, when these breasts where dry with want! O mother of God, this Foulon! O Heaven our suffering! Hear me, my dead baby and my withered father: I swear on my knees, on these stones, to avenge you on Foulon! Husbands, and brothers, and young men, Give us the blood of Foulon, Give us the head of Foulon, Give us the heart of Foulon, Give us the body and soul of Foulon, Rend Foulon to pieces, and dig him into the ground, that grass may grow from him! With these cries, numbers of the women, lashed into blind frenzy, whirled about, striking and tearing at their own friends until they dropped into a passionate swoon, and were only saved by the men belonging to them from being trampled under foot. The men were frightful, looking murderously out of the windows, grabbing whatever weapons they had, and running out into the streets. But the women were a sight that could frighten the bravest person. They ran outside with their hair streaming behind them, leaving all their household responsibilities, from the children to their old and sick family members who were crouching hungry and naked on their floors. They urged each other and themselves to madness by acting and shouting wildly. “The villain Foulon has been taken, Sister! Old Foulon has been taken, Mother! The troublemaker Foulon has been taken, Daughter!” Then, twenty other women ran into the midst of these, pounding on their chests, tearing their hair, and screaming, “Foulon is alive! Foulon who told the starving people to eat grass! Foulon who told my aging father that he should eat grass when I didn’t have any bread to give him! Foulon who told my baby to suck on grass when my breasts were dry of milk from starvation! Oh, mother of God, this Foulon! Oh, Heaven our suffering! Hear me, my dead baby and my withered father: I swear on my knees, on these stones, to take revenge on Foulon. Husbands, brothers, and young men, kill Foulon—give us his blood, his head, his heart, his body and soul. Tear him to pieces and bury him in the ground so he will make the grass grow.” With these cries, many women worked themselves into a blind frenzy and ran around hitting and tearing their own friends until they passed out from exertion. They were only saved from being trampled under foot by their husbands.
Nevertheless, not a moment was lost; not a moment! This Foulon was at the Hotel de Ville, and might be loosed. Never, if Saint Antoine knew his own sufferings, insults, and wrongs! Armed men and women flocked out of the Quarter so fast, and drew even these last dregs after them with such a force of suction, that within a quarter of an hour there was not a human creature in Saint Antoine’s bosom but a few old crones and the wailing children. Nevertheless, they didn’t lose a moment. Not a moment! Foulon was at the Hotel de Ville, and he might be let go. He would never be let go, though, if the people of Saint Antoine knew how they had suffered and been insulted and wronged. Men and women armed with weapons hurried from the neighborhood so fast, bringing everyone nearby with them, that within fifteen minutes no one remained in Saint Antoine but a few old women and some crying children.

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