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A Tale of Two Cities

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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? Eh?” “But Monsieur Defarge is a good Republican without a doubt, isn’t he?” asked Jacques Three.
“There is no better,” the voluble Vengeance protested in her shrill notes, “in France.” “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. It’s unfortunate.”
“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 father.”
“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 pretty sight!” “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 escape.” “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, little citizen.” “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 day?” “About those signals that she made to the prisoners, little citizen,” said Madame Defarge sternly. “Are you ready to swear to them today?”

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