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A Tale of Two Cities

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No. They were all by that time choking the Hall of Examination where this old man, ugly and wicked, was, and overflowing into the adjacent open space and streets. The Defarges, husband and wife, The Vengeance, and Jacques Three, were in the first press, and at no great distance from him in the Hall. No. By then they were all crowded into the Hall of Examination—where this mean, ugly old man was— or they overflowed into the nearby streets. Monsieur and Madame Defarge, The Vengeance, and Jacques Three were in the front and very close to him in the Hall.
“See!” cried madame, pointing with her knife. “See the old villain bound with ropes. That was well done to tie a bunch of grass upon his back. Ha, ha! That was well done. Let him eat it now!” Madame put her knife under her arm, and clapped her hands as at a play. “See!” yelled Madame Defarge, pointing to him with her knife. “See the old villain tied with ropes. They did well to tie a bunch of grass on his back. Ha, ha! That was done well. Now let him eat it!” Madame put her knife under her arm and applauded as if she were at a play.
The people immediately behind Madame Defarge, explaining the cause of her satisfaction to those behind them, and those again explaining to others, and those to others, the neighbouring streets resounded with the clapping of hands. Similarly, during two or three hours of drawl, and the winnowing of many bushels of words, Madame Defarge’s frequent expressions of impatience were taken up, with marvellous quickness, at a distance: the more readily, because certain men who had by some wonderful exercise of agility climbed up the external architecture to look in from the windows, knew Madame Defarge well, and acted as a telegraph between her and the crowd outside the building. The people right behind Madame Defarge explained why she was so happy to the people behind them. Those people explained it to other people, and so forth. Soon people were applauding throughout the nearby streets. Similarly, during two or three hours of talking, the distant members of the crowd took up Madame Defarge’s expressions of impatience surprisingly quickly. Quicker because some men who had climbed up the outside of the building to look in through the windows knew Madame Defarge well and would relay her expressions to the crowd outside.
At length the sun rose so high that it struck a kindly ray as of hope or protection, directly down upon the old prisoner’s head. The favour was too much to bear; in an instant the barrier of dust and chaff that had stood surprisingly long, went to the winds, and Saint Antoine had got him! After a while the sun rose so high that it was shining directly on the prisoner’s head, as if giving off rays of hope or protection. This was too much for the crowd, and in an instant they charged in and seized him.
It was known directly, to the furthest confines of the crowd. Defarge had but sprung over a railing and a table, and folded the miserable wretch in a deadly embrace—Madame Defarge had but followed and turned her hand in one of the ropes with which he was tied—The Vengeance and Jacques Three were not yet up with them, and the men at the windows had not yet swooped into the Hall, like birds of prey from their high perches—when the cry seemed to go up, all over the city, “Bring him out! Bring him to the lamp!” Even the most distant parts of the crowd knew about it right away. Defarge jumped over a railing and a table and grabbed the poor man in a deadly embrace. Madame Defarge followed him and twisted in her hand one of the rope he was tied up with. The Vengeance and Jacques Three hadn’t reached them yet, and the men at the windows hadn’t yet jumped down into the Hall, when it seemed that all of Paris had started to yell, “Bring him out! Bring him to a streetlamp!”
Down, and up, and head foremost on the steps of the building; now, on his knees; now, on his feet; now, on his back; dragged, and struck at, and stifled by the bunches of grass and straw that were thrust into his face by hundreds of hands; torn, bruised, panting, bleeding, yet always entreating and beseeching for mercy; now full of vehement agony of action, with a small clear space about him as the people drew one another back that they might see; now, a log of dead wood drawn through a forest of legs; he was hauled to the nearest street corner where one of the fatal lamps swung, and there Madame Defarge let him go—as a cat might have done to a mouse—and silently and composedly looked at him while they made ready, and while he besought her: the women passionately screeching at him all the time, and the men sternly calling out to have him killed with grass in his mouth. Once, he went aloft, and the rope broke, and they caught him shrieking; twice, he went aloft, and the rope broke, and they caught him shrieking; then, the rope was merciful, and held him, and his head was soon upon a pike, with grass enough in the mouth for all Saint Antoine to dance at the sight of. First he was down on the ground, then up again, then falling headfirst on the steps of the building. Then he was on his knees, then on his feet, then on his back. He was dragged, beaten, and choked by bunches of grass and straw that were shoved into his face by hundreds of hands. He was torn and bruised, panting and bleeding, and the whole time he was begging for mercy. He felt agony as people pulled each other back from him to get a look. Then a wooden log was pulled through the crowd. He was dragged to the nearest street corner, where one of the fatal streetlamps hung. There Madame Defarge let go of him, like a cat might let go of a mouse. She watched him quietly while they prepared, and he begged her for mercy. The women screamed at him all this time, and the men yelled that they wanted him to be killed with grass in his mouth. At one point, they hoisted him into the air and the rope broke, and the crowd caught him as he fell shrieking. It happened again. Then the rope held him, and his severed head was soon upon a pike with enough grass in its mouth for the people of Saint Antoine to dance in celebration.

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