“What an admirable woman; what an adorable woman!” exclaimed Jacques Three,
rapturously. “Ah, my cherished!” cried The Vengeance; and embraced her.
“You are an admirable woman! I adore you!” yelled Jacques Three
enthusiastically. “Ah, my cherished!” cried The Vengeance, embracing her.
“Take you my knitting,” said Madame Defarge, placing it in her lieutenant’s
hands, “and have it ready for me in my usual seat. Keep me my usual chair. Go
you there, straight, for there will probably be a greater concourse than usual,
“Take my knitting,” said Madame Defarge, giving it to The Vengeance. “Have it
waiting for me at my usual seat near the guillotine. Save my usual chair for me.
Go right now, for there will probably me a bigger crowd than usual there
“I willingly obey the orders of my Chief,” said The Vengeance with alacrity,
and kissing her cheek. “You will not be late?”
“I will follow my chief’s orders,” said The Vengeance eagerly. She kissed
Madame Defarge on the cheek. “You won’t be late?”
“I shall be there before the commencement.”
“I’ll be there before they begin.”
“And before the tumbrils arrive. Be sure you are there, my soul,” said The
Vengeance, calling after her, for she had already turned into the street,
“before the tumbrils arrive!”
“And before the tumbrils arrive with the prisoners. Make sure that you are
there before the tumbrils arrive!” The Vengeance called after her, but Madame
Defarge had already stepped out into the street.
Madame Defarge slightly waved her hand, to imply that she heard, and might be
relied upon to arrive in good time, and so went through the mud, and round the
corner of the prison wall. The Vengeance and the Juryman, looking after her as
she walked away, were highly appreciative of her fine figure, and her superb
Madame Defarge slightly waved her hand to show that she had heard her and
could be counted on to arrive on time. Then she walked through the mud and
around the corner of the prison wall. The Vengeance and Jacques Three watched
her as she walked away, admiring her for her beauty and her high morals.
There were many women at that time, upon whom the time laid a dreadfully
disfiguring hand; but, there was not one among them more to be dreaded than this
ruthless woman, now taking her way along the streets. Of a strong and fearless
character, of shrewd sense and readiness, of great determination, of that kind
of beauty which not only seems to impart to its possessor firmness and
animosity, but to strike into others an instinctive recognition of those
qualities; the troubled time would have heaved her up, under any circumstances.
But, imbued from her childhood with a brooding sense of wrong, and an inveterate
hatred of a class, opportunity had developed her into a tigress. She was
absolutely without pity. If she had ever had the virtue in her, it had quite
gone out of her.
There were many women who had been badly disfigured by the violent atmosphere
of the time, but there was no one among them more terrifying than Madame
Defarge, who was now walking through the streets. She had a strong and fearless
character and was smart and always prepared. She was determined and had the kind
of beauty that not only seems to impart strength and ferocity but also makes
others recognize those qualities in her instinctually. The troubled times would
have raised her up under any circumstances, but her childhood had also given her
a sense of injustice and a hatred of the upper class. These conditions had
turned her into a tigress, and she was completely pitiless. If she had ever had
any pity in her, it was gone.
It was nothing to her, that an innocent man was to die for the sins of his
forefathers; she saw, not him, but them. It was nothing to her, that his wife
was to be made a widow and his daughter an orphan; that was insufficient
punishment, because they were her natural enemies and her prey, and as such had
no right to live. To appeal to her, was made hopeless by her having no sense of
pity, even for herself. If she had been laid low in the streets, in any of the
many encounters in which she had been engaged, she would not have pitied
herself; nor, if she had been ordered to the axe to-morrow, would she have gone
to it with any softer feeling than a fierce desire to change places with the man
who sent here there.
She didn’t care that an innocent man was about to die for the sins of his
ancestors. She saw them, not him. She didn’t care that his wife was about to
become a widow and his daughter an orphan. That wasn’t enough punishment,
because they were her natural enemies and prey, and so they had no right to
live. It was useless to appeal to her, since she had no pity, even for herself.
If she had been struck down in the streets in one of the many battles she had
been involved in, she wouldn’t have pitied herself. If she were sent to the
guillotine to die tomorrow, she wouldn’t feel anything but a strong desire to
see the person who sent her there killed instead.
Such a heart Madame Defarge carried under her rough robe. Carelessly worn, it
was a becoming robe enough, in a certain weird way, and her dark hair looked
rich under her coarse red cap. Lying hidden in her bosom, was a loaded pistol.
Lying hidden at her waist, was a sharpened dagger. Thus accoutred, and walking
with the confident tread of such a character, and with the supple freedom of a
woman who had habitually walked in her girlhood, bare-foot and bare-legged, on
the brown sea-sand, Madame Defarge took her way along the streets.
That was the heart Madame Defarge had under her rough robe. She wore her robe
carelessly. It was an attractive robe in a strange way. Her dark hair looked
thick under her rough red cap. A loaded pistol hid in her shirt, and a sharp
dagger was hidden at her waist. Dressed like this, she walked confidently, like
a woman who had often walked barefoot and barelegged along brown, sandy beaches
as a young girl. Madame Defarge made her way through the streets.