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A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

  Book 2 Chapter 16

page Book 2 Chapter 16: Still Knitting: Page 6

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The spy, well used to his business, did not change his unconscious attitude, but drained his little glass of cognac, took a sip of fresh water, and asked for another glass of cognac. Madame Defarge poured it out for him, took to her knitting again, and hummed a little song over it. The spy, accustomed to his job, didn’t change his casual attitude. He finished his little glass of cognac and took a sip of water. He asked for another glass of cognac, and Madame Defarge poured it for him and went back to her knitting. She hummed a little song while she knit.
“You seem to know this quarter well; that is to say, better than I do?” observed Defarge. “You seem to know this quarter well. I mean, even better than I do,” observed Defarge.
“Not at all, but I hope to know it better. I am so profoundly interested in its miserable inhabitants.” “Not at all, but I hope to get to know it better. I am extremely interested in the unfortunate people who live here.”
“Hah!” muttered Defarge. “Hah!” Defarge muttered.
“The pleasure of conversing with you, Monsieur Defarge, recalls to me,” pursued the spy, “that I have the honour of cherishing some interesting associations with your name.” “The joy of talking with you, Monsieur Defarge, reminds me,” continued the spy, “that I am lucky enough to know some things about you.”
“Indeed!” said Defarge, with much indifference. “Really!” said Defarge, indifferently.
“Yes, indeed. When Doctor Manette was released, you, his old domestic, had the charge of him, I know. He was delivered to you. You see I am informed of the circumstances?” “Yes, really. I know that when Dr. Manette was released from prison, you, his old servant, took care of him. He was brought to you. You see that I know about the situation?”
“Such is the fact, certainly,” said Defarge. He had had it conveyed to him, in an accidental touch of his wife’s elbow as she knitted and warbled, that he would do best to answer, but always with brevity. “That’s true, for sure,” said Defarge. His wife let him know by brushing her elbow against him as she knitted and sang that he should answer, but only as briefly as possible.
“It was to you,” said the spy, “that his daughter came; and it was from your care that his daughter took him, accompanied by a neat brown monsieur; how is he called? —in a little wig—Lorry—of the bank of Tellson and Company—over to England.” “His daughter came to you,” said the spy. “And she took Dr. Manette from you, along with a well-dressed man in brown. What is his name? He had a little wig. Lorry! From Tellson and Company over in England.”
“Such is the fact,” repeated Defarge. “That’s true,” repeated Defarge.
“Very interesting remembrances!” said the spy. “I have known Doctor Manette and his daughter, in England.” “Very interesting memories!” said the spy. “I have known Dr. Manette and his daughter in England.”
“Yes?” said Defarge. “Yes?” said Defarge.
“You don’t hear much about them now?” said the spy. “You don’t hear from them much now?” asked the spy.
“No,” said Defarge. “No,” said Defarge.
“In effect,” madame struck in, looking up from her work and her little song, “we never hear about them. We received the news of their safe arrival, and perhaps another letter, or perhaps two; but, since then, they have gradually taken their road in life—we, ours—and we have held no correspondence.” “Actually,” Madame Defarge added, looking up from her knitting and her little song, “we never hear from them. We got the news that they arrived safely in England, and perhaps another letter or two from them, maybe two. But since then, they have gone their way, we have gone ours, and we haven’t kept in touch.”
“Perfectly so, madame,” replied the spy. “She is going to be married.” “Good, madame,” answered the spy. “She is going to be married.”
“Going?” echoed madame. “She was pretty enough to have been married long ago. You English are cold, it seems to me.” “Going to be?” repeated Madame Defarge. “She was attractive enough to have gotten married a long time ago. You English are cold people, it seems to me.”
“Oh! You know I am English.” “Oh! You can tell that I am English.”
“I perceive your tongue is,” returned madame; “and what the tongue is, I suppose the man is.” “You have an English accent,” answered Madame Defarge. “Therefore I assume that you are an Englishman.”
He did not take the identification as a compliment; but he made the best of it, and turned it off with a laugh. After sipping his cognac to the end, he added: He didn’t take this as a compliment, but he made the best of it and laughed it off. After finishing his cognac, he added:
“Yes, Miss Manette is going to be married. But not to an Englishman; to one who, like herself, is French by birth. And speaking of Gaspard (ah, poor Gaspard! It was cruel, cruel!), it is a curious thing that she is going to marry the nephew of Monsieur the Marquis, for whom Gaspard was exalted to that height of so many feet; in other words, the present Marquis. But he lives unknown in England, he is no Marquis there; he is Mr. Charles Darnay. D’Aulnais is the name of his mother’s family.” “Yes, Miss Manette is going to be married. But not to an Englishman. She’s marrying someone who, like herself, is French. And speaking of poor Gaspard, it is strange that she is going to marry the nephew of the marquis, who Gaspard was hanged for killing. In other words, she is marrying the new marquis. But he lives in England where no one knows who he is. He isn’t a marquis there. There he is known as Mr. Charles Darnay. D’Aulnais is the name of his mother’s side of the family.”