In that same juncture of time when the Fifty-Two awaited their fate Madame
Defarge held darkly ominous council with The Vengeance and Jacques Three of the
Revolutionary Jury. Not in the wine-shop did Madame Defarge confer with these
ministers, but in the shed of the wood-sawyer, erst a mender of roads. The
sawyer himself did not participate in the conference, but abided at a little
distance, like an outer satellite who was not to speak until required, or to
offer an opinion until invited.
While the fifty-two prisoners waited to be executed, Madame Defarge held a
darkly ominous meeting with The Vengeance and Jacques Three of the Revolutionary
jury. She didn’t meet with them at the wine shop but in the shed of the wood
sawyer, who used to be a repairer of roads. The wood sawyer himself did not take
part in the meeting. He waited a little distance away, like an outsider who
wasn’t supposed to speak until he was needed or asked his opinion.
“But our Defarge,” said Jacques Three, “is undoubtedly a good Republican?
“But Monsieur Defarge is a good Republican without a doubt, isn’t he?” asked
“There is no better,” the voluble Vengeance protested in her shrill notes, “in
“There isn’t a better Republican in France,” the talkative Vengeance said in
her shrill voice.
“Peace, little Vengeance,” said Madame Defarge, laying her hand with a slight
frown on her lieutenant’s lips, “hear me speak. My husband, fellow-citizen, is a
good Republican and a bold man; he has deserved well of the Republic, and
possesses its confidence. But my husband has his weaknesses, and he is so weak
as to relent towards this Doctor.”
“Quiet, Vengeance,” said Madame Defarge. She frowned and put her hand on The
Vengeance’s lips. “Listen to me. My husband is a good Republican and a brave
man. He deserves to be treated well by the Republic, and the government is
confident in him. But my husband has his weaknesses. He is so weak that he will
side with Dr. Manette.”
“It is a great pity,” croaked Jacques Three, dubiously shaking his head, with
his cruel fingers at his hungry mouth; “it is not quite like a good citizen; it
is a thing to regret.”
“It’s a great pity,” said Jacques Three hoarsely, shaking his head in doubt.
His fingers were at his hungry mouth. “He is not acting like a good citizen.
“See you,” said madame, “I care nothing for this Doctor, I. He may wear his
head or lose it, for any interest I have in him; it is all one to me. But, the
Evremonde people are to be exterminated, and the wife and child must follow the
husband and father.”
“Look,” said Madame Defarge. “I don’t care about this doctor at all. He can
live or die as far as I care. It doesn’t matter to me. But the Evremonde family
has to die out, and the wife and child must die like their husband and
“She has a fine head for it,” croaked Jacques Three. “I have seen blue eyes
and golden hair there, and they looked charming when Samson held them up.” Ogre
that he was, he spoke like an epicure.
“She has a good head for it,” answered Jacques Three hoarsely. “I have seen
someone with blue eyes and blond hair beheaded. The head looked beautiful when
the executioner held it up.” He was such a monster that he spoke the way a
gourmet talks about food.
Madame Defarge cast down her eyes, and reflected a little.
Madame Defarge looked down and thought a little.
“The child also,” observed Jacques Three, with a meditative enjoyment of his
words, “has golden hair and blue eyes. And we seldom have a child there. It is a
“The child also has blond hair and blue eyes,” said Jacques Three,
thoughtfully enjoying his words. “We rarely have a child sent to the guillotine.
It’s a pretty sight!”
“In a word,” said Madame Defarge, coming out of her short abstraction, “I
cannot trust my husband in this matter. Not only do I feel, since last night,
that I dare not confide to him the details of my projects; but also I feel that
if I delay, there is danger of his giving warning, and then they might
“In a word,” said Madame Defarge, getting back onto the subject, “I can’t
trust my husband about this. Since last night I’ve felt that I can’t trust him
with the details of my plans. I also feel that if I delay he could warn them,
and then they might escape.”
“That must never be,” croaked Jacques Three; “no one must escape. We have not
half enough as it is. We ought to have six score a day.”
“That must never happen,” said Jacques Three hoarsely. “No one must escape. We
don’t have enough people dying as it is. We should have a hundred and twenty
people sent to the guillotine every day.”
“In a word,” Madame Defarge went on, “my husband has not my reason for
pursuing this family to annihilation, and I have not his reason for regarding
this Doctor with any sensibility. I must act for myself, therefore. Come hither,
“In a word,” Madame Defarge continued, “my husband doesn’t have my reason for
wanting to exterminate the Evremonde family, and I don’t have his reason for
having any affection for Dr. Manette. Therefore, I must act for myself. Come
here, little citizen.”
The wood-sawyer, who held her in the respect, and himself in the submission,
of mortal fear, advanced with his hand to his red cap.
The wood sawyer, who was deathly afraid of Madame Defarge, came forward
clutching his red cap.
“Touching those signals, little citizen,” said Madame Defarge, sternly, “that
she made to the prisoners; you are ready to bear witness to them this very
“About those signals that she made to the prisoners, little citizen,” said
Madame Defarge sternly. “Are you ready to swear to them today?”