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A Tale of Two Cities

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“On my way yonder,” said Madame Defarge, with a slight movement of her hand towards the fatal spot, “where they reserve my chair and my knitting for me, I am come to make my compliments to her in passing. I wish to see her.” “I’m on my way to the execution,” said Madame Defarge, gesturing slightly with her hand in the direction of the guillotine. “They save my seat for me and have my knitting ready for me there. I’ve come to give my compliments to Lucie on my way. I want to see her.”
“I know that your intentions are evil,” said Miss Pross, “and you may depend upon it, I’ll hold my own against them.” “I know that your intentions are evil,” said Miss Pross. “You can trust that I will hold my own in fighting against them.”
Each spoke in her own language; neither understood the other’s words; both were very watchful, and intent to deduce from look and manner, what the unintelligible words meant. Miss Pross spoke English and Madame Defarge spoke French, and neither understood the other. Both were watching each other carefully and trying to guess from the other’s behavior what they were saying.
“It will do her no good to keep herself concealed from me at this moment,” said Madame Defarge. “Good patriots will know what that means. Let me see her. Go tell her that I wish to see her. Do you hear?” “It won’t help Lucie to hide from me right now,” said Madame Defarge. “Good patriots will know what it means if she does. Let me see her. Go tell her that I want to see her. Do you hear me?”
“If those eyes of yours were bed-winches,” returned Miss Pross, “and I was an English four-poster, they shouldn’t loose a splinter of me. No, you wicked foreign woman; I am your match.” “If your eyes were

bed winches

a machine for lifting loads made of a rope or chain wound around a cylinder

bed winches
and I was an English four-poster bed, they wouldn’t get a splinter out of me. No, you wicked, foreign woman. I am your match.”
Madame Defarge was not likely to follow these idiomatic remarks in detail; but, she so far understood them as to perceive that she was set at naught. Madame Defarge didn’t follow these remarks very closely, but she understood them enough to know that Miss Pross wasn’t going to go get Lucie.
“Woman imbecile and pig-like!” said Madame Defarge, frowning. “I take no answer from you. I demand to see her. Either tell her that I demand to see her, or stand out of the way of the door and let me go to her!” This, with an angry explanatory wave of her right arm. “You stupid pig!” said Madame Defarge, frowning. “You’re not answering me. I demand to see her. Either tell her that I demand to see her or get out of the way of the door and let me go see her myself!” She waved her right arm angrily as she said this.
“I little thought,” said Miss Pross, “that I should ever want to understand your nonsensical language; but I would give all I have, except the clothes I wear, to know whether you suspect the truth, or any part of it.” “I never thought that I would ever want to understand your ridiculous language, but I would give all I have, besides the clothes I’m wearing now, to know whether you suspect the truth, or any part of it.”
Neither of them for a single moment released the other’s eyes. Madame Defarge had not moved from the spot where she stood when Miss Pross first became aware of her; but, she now advanced one step. Neither one of them would stop staring into the other’s eyes for a single moment. Madame Defarge hadn’t moved from where she stood when Miss Pross first realized she was there, but now she moved forward one step.
“I am a Briton,” said Miss Pross, “I am desperate. I don’t care an English Twopence for myself. I know that the longer I keep you here, the greater hope there is for my Ladybird. I’ll not leave a handful of that dark hair upon your head, if you lay a finger on me!” “I am British,” said Miss Pross. “I am desperate, and I don’t care two pennies for myself. I know that the longer I keep you here, the greater the hope is for Lucie. I will tear all of your dark hair clean off your head if you lay a finger on me!”
Thus Miss Pross, with a shake of her head and a flash of her eyes between every rapid sentence, and every rapid sentence a whole breath. Thus Miss Pross, who had never struck a blow in her life. As Miss Pross spoke, she shook her head, glaring at Madame Defarge and taking a breath between every quick sentence. Miss Pross had threatened her, though she had never hit anyone in her life.
But, her courage was of that emotional nature that it brought the irrepressible tears into her eyes. This was a courage that Madame Defarge so little comprehended as to mistake for weakness. “Ha, ha!” she laughed, “you poor wretch! What are you worth! I address myself to that Doctor.” Then she raised her voice and called out, “Citizen Doctor! Wife of Evremonde! Child of Evremonde! Any person but this miserable fool, answer the Citizeness Defarge!” Her courage made her so emotional that it brought tears into her eyes. Madame Defarge misunderstood this as weakness. “Ha, ha!” she laughed. “You pitiful, worthless woman. I’ll speak to Dr. Manette.” Then she raised her voice and called out, “Citizen doctor! Wife of Evremonde! Child of Evremonde! Anyone here but this miserable fool I’m talking to, answer me!”
Perhaps the following silence, perhaps some latent disclosure in the expression of Miss Pross’s face, perhaps a sudden misgiving apart from either suggestion, whispered to Madame Defarge that they were gone. Three of the doors she opened swiftly, and looked in. Maybe it was the silence that followed, or the expression on Miss Pross’s face, or a sudden worry that had nothing to do with either, but something made Madame Defarge think that they might all be gone. She opened three of the doors quickly and looked into the other rooms.

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