A Tale of Two Cities

by: Charles Dickens

  Book 2 Chapter 21

page Book 2 Chapter 21: Echoing Footsteps: Page 5

Original Text

Modern Text

“Keep near to me, Jacques Three,” cried Defarge; “and do you, Jacques One and Two, separate and put yourselves at the head of as many of these patriots as you can. Where is my wife?” “Stay close to me, Jacques Three,” yelled Defarge. “And you, Jacques One and Two, split up and put yourselves in charge of as many of these patriots as you can. Where is my wife?”
“Eh, well! Here you see me!” said madame, composed as ever, but not knitting to-day. Madame’s resolute right hand was occupied with an axe, in place of the usual softer implements, and in her girdle were a pistol and a cruel knife. “Hey! Here I am!” said Madame Defarge, as calm as ever, but not knitting today. Instead, Madame Defarge had an axe in her right hand and a pistol and a cruel-looking knife in her girdle.
“Where do you go, my wife?” “Where are you going, my wife?”
“I go,” said madame, “with you at present. You shall see me at the head of women, by-and-bye.” “I’m going with you right now,” said Madame Defarge. “You’ll see me leading the women soon.”
“Come, then!” cried Defarge, in a resounding voice. “Patriots and friends, we are ready! The Bastille!” “Come, then!” yelled Defarge loudly. “Patriots and friends, we are ready! To the Bastille!”
With a roar that sounded as if all the breath in France had been shaped into the detested word, the living sea rose, wave on wave, depth on depth, and overflowed the city to that point. Alarm-bells ringing, drums beating, the sea raging and thundering on its new beach, the attack began. With a roar that sounded as if every person in France had yelled the word Bastille, the crowd of peasants rose up and overflowed the city. With alarm bells ringing, drums beating, and the crowd thundering like the sea, the attack began.
Deep ditches, double drawbridge, massive stone walls, eight great towers, cannon, muskets, fire and smoke. Through the fire and through the smoke—in the fire and in the smoke, for the sea cast him up against a cannon, and on the instant he became a cannonier—Defarge of the wine-shop worked like a manful soldier, Two fierce hours. There were deep ditches, a double drawbridge, huge stone walls, eight large towers, cannon, muskets, fire, and smoke to contend with. Through the fire and smoke—in the fire and smoke, for the crowd forced him up against a cannon—Monsieur Defarge the wine seller became a cannoneer. He worked like a fierce soldier for two hours.
Deep ditch, single drawbridge, massive stone walls, eight great towers, cannon, muskets, fire and smoke. One drawbridge down! “Work, comrades all, work! Work, Jacques One, Jacques Two, Jacques One Thousand, Jacques Two Thousand, Jacques Five-and-Twenty Thousand; in the name of all the Angels or the Devils—which you prefer—work!” Thus Defarge of the wine-shop, still at his gun, which had long grown hot. Then there was one deep ditch, a single drawbridge, huge stone walls, eight large towers, cannon, muskets, fire, and smoke to contend with. One drawbridge had been taken down! “Work, my friends, work!” shouted Defarge. “Work, Jacques One, Jacques Two, Jacques One Thousand, Jacques Two Thousand, Jacques Twenty-Five Thousand, in the name of all the angels or the devils—whichever you prefer—work!” So Defarge the wine seller yelled, still at his cannon, which had long before grown hot from firing.
“To me, women!” cried madame his wife. “What! We can kill as well as the men when the place is taken!” And to her, with a shrill thirsty cry, trooping women variously armed, but all armed alike in hunger and revenge. “Gather around me, women!” yelled Madame Defarge. “What! We can kill as well as the men when we need to!” With a shrill, eager cry, crowds of women followed her. They all carried different weapons, but they were alike in their hunger for revenge.
Cannon, muskets, fire and smoke; but, still the deep ditch, the single drawbridge, the massive stone walls, and the eight great towers. Slight displacements of the raging sea, made by the falling wounded. Flashing weapons, blazing torches, smoking waggonloads of wet straw, hard work at neighbouring barricades in all directions, shrieks, volleys, execrations, bravery without stint, boom smash and rattle, and the furious sounding of the living sea; but, still the deep ditch, and the single drawbridge, and the massive stone walls, and the eight great towers, and still Defarge of the wine-shop at his gun, grown doubly hot by the service of Four fierce hours. There were still cannons, muskets, fire, and smoke to contend with. There was still the deep ditch, the single drawbridge, the huge stone walls, and the eight great towers. The crowd changed its shape as people fell down wounded. There were flashing weapons, blazing torches, wagonloads of burning wet straw. People were working hard at barricades everywhere, and there were the sounds of cries, gunfire, curses, unflinching bravery, booms, smashes, rattles, and the furious sounds of the crowd. But there was still the deep ditch, the single drawbridge, the huge stone walls, and the eight large towers. Defarge the wine seller was still at his cannon, which was twice as hot after firing for four straight hours.
A white flag from within the fortress, and a parley—this dimly perceptible through the raging storm, nothing audible in it—suddenly the sea rose immeasurably wider and higher, and swept Defarge of the wine-shop over the lowered drawbridge, past the massive stone outer walls, in among the eight great towers surrendered! A white flag rose from within the castle, and a

parley

talks or negotiations between enemies

parley
was called for. The flag was barely visible through the battle, though, and nothing could be heard over the sounds of the battle. Then suddenly the crowd surged and carried Defarge the wine seller over the lowered drawbridge, past the huge stone outer walls, and in toward the eight large towers that had been surrendered!