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A Tale of Two Cities

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“It is so,” assented Defarge, without being asked. “It’s true,” Defarge agreed, without being asked.
“In the beginning of the great days, when the Bastille falls, he finds this paper of to-day, and he brings it home, and in the middle of the night when this place is clear and shut, we read it, here on this spot, by the light of this lamp. Ask him, is that so.” “Defarge found the paper we heard read today in the first days of the Revolution ,when the Bastille fell. He brought it home, and in the middle of the night, when this shop was empty and closed up, we read it. Right here by the light of this lamp. Ask him if it’s true.”
“It is so,” assented Defarge. “It’s true,” agreed Defarge.
“That night, I tell him, when the paper is read through, and the lamp is burnt out, and the day is gleaming in above those shutters and between those iron bars, that I have now a secret to communicate. Ask him, is that so.” “That night, after we had read through the paper, the lamp had burned out and the daylight was shining in above those shutters and between those iron bars. I told him I had a secret to tell him. Ask him if it’s true.”
“It is so,” assented Defarge again. “It’s true,” agreed Defarge.
“I communicate to him that secret. I smite this bosom with these two hands as I smite it now, and I tell him, ‘Defarge, I was brought up among the fishermen of the sea-shore, and that peasant family so injured by the two Evremonde brothers, as that Bastille paper describes, is my family. Defarge, that sister of the mortally wounded boy upon the ground was my sister, that husband was my sister’s husband, that unborn child was their child, that brother was my brother, that father was my father, those dead are my dead, and that summons to answer for those things descends to me!’ Ask him, is that so.” “I told him my secret. I struck my chest with these two hands as I strike it now, and I told him, ‘Defarge, I was raised by fishermen on the seashore. The peasant family harmed so badly by the two Evremonde brothers, as described in the paper from the Bastille, is my family. Defarge, that sister of the wounded boy who died on the ground was my sister. That husband who was killed was my sister’s husband. That unborn child she carried was their child. That brother was my brother. That father was my father. Those dead people are my dead. The responsibility to bring the guilty to justice belongs to me!’ Ask him if it’s true.”
“It is so,” assented Defarge once more. “It’s true,” agreed Defarge once more.
“Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop,” returned madame; “but don’t tell me.” “Then tell the wind and fire where to stop,” answered Madame Defarge. “But don’t tell me.”
Both her hearers derived a horrible enjoyment from the deadly nature of her wrath—the listener could feel how white she was, without seeing her—and both highly commended it. Defarge, a weak minority, interposed a few words for the memory of the compassionate wife of the Marquis; but only elicited from his own wife a repetition of her last reply. “Tell the Wind and the Fire where to stop; not me!” Jacques Three and The Vengeance seemed to enjoy hearing the reasons for her wrath, and both praised her highly. Carton could feel how angry she was without looking at her. Defarge was a weak minority in the group. He added a few words about the memory of the compassionate wife of the marquis, but his wife only repeated her last answer. “Tell the wind and fire where to stop, but don’t tell me!”
Customers entered, and the group was broken up. The English customer paid for what he had had, perplexedly counted his change, and asked, as a stranger, to be directed towards the National Palace. Madame Defarge took him to the door, and put her arm on his, in pointing out the road. The English customer was not without his reflections then, that it might be a good deed to seize that arm, lift it, and strike under it sharp and deep. Customers came into the wine shop and the group split up. Carton paid for his wine and counted out his change as though French money confused him. He asked for directions to the National Palace as if he were a stranger to the city. Madame Defarge took him to the door. She put her arm on his as she pointed out the road. Carton had the thought that he could do a good deed by lifting her arm, stabbing her in her side, and killing her.
But, he went his way, and was soon swallowed up in the shadow of the prison wall. At the appointed hour, he emerged from it to present himself in Mr. Lorry’s room again, where he found the old gentleman walking to and fro in restless anxiety. He said he had been with Lucie until just now, and had only left her for a few minutes, to come and keep his appointment. Her father had not been seen, since he quitted the banking-house towards four o’clock. She had some faint hopes that his mediation might save Charles, but they were very slight. He had been more than five hours gone: where could he be? Instead, he went on his way, and he was soon standing in the shadow of the prison wall. At nine o’clock, he left and went to Mr. Lorry’s room again, where he found him pacing anxiously back and forth in restless anxiety. He said he had been with Lucie until just recently, and that he had only left her for a few minutes to come and keep his appointment. Dr. Manette hadn’t been seen since he left the bank just before four o’clock. Lucie had some faint hope that the doctor could intervene and save Charles, but that hope was small. He had been gone for more than five hours. Where could he be?

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