A tale of two Cities

through Charles Dickens

publication the Second: The gold Thread—Chapter 16: Still knitting
Year Published: 1859 Language: English Country of Origin: England Source: Dickens, C. (1859). A story of two Cities.

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London, England: Chapman and also Hall.

Dickens, C. (1859). Publication the Second: The gold Thread—Chapter 16: quiet Knitting. A story of two Cities (Lit2Go Edition). Re-cover October 20, 2021, from https://gaianation.net/lit2go/22/a-tale-of-two-cities/137/book-the-second-the-golden-threadchapter-16-still-knitting/


Dickens, Charles. "Book the Second: The golden Thread—Chapter 16: quiet Knitting." A story of two Cities. Lit2Go Edition. 1859. Web. Https://gaianation.net/lit2go/22/a-tale-of-two-cities/137/book-the-second-the-golden-threadchapter-16-still-knitting/>. October 20, 2021.


Charles Dickens, "Book the Second: The golden Thread—Chapter 16: still Knitting," A story of 2 Cities, Lit2Go Edition, (1859), accessed October 20, 2021, https://gaianation.net/lit2go/22/a-tale-of-two-cities/137/book-the-second-the-golden-threadchapter-16-still-knitting/.


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Madame Defarge and monsieur she husband reverted amicably to the bosom the Saint Antoine, when a speck in a blue lid toiled through the darkness, and also through the dust, and down the weary mile of avenue by the wayside, gradually tending towards that point of the compass wherein the chateau the Monsieur the Marquis, currently in his grave, listened to the whispering trees. Such ample leisure had the rock faces, now, for listening come the trees and also to the fountain, the the couple of village scarecrows who, in their pursuit for herbs to eat and also fragments the dead stick come burn, strayed within sight of the great stone courtyard and terrace staircase, had it borne in upon your starved an intricate that the expression the the encounters was altered. A rumour just lived in the village—had a faint and also bare presence there, as its human being had—that once the knife win home, the deals with changed, from faces of proud to deals with of anger and also pain; also, that as soon as that dangling figure was hauled up fourty feet above the fountain, they adjusted again, and bore a cruel look of gift avenged, i beg your pardon they would certainly henceforth bear for ever. In the stone face over the good window that the bed-chamber where the murder was done, two fine dints were stated in the sculptured nose, i m sorry everybody recognised, and which nobody had seen the old; and also on the scarce occasions when two or 3 ragged peasants emerged from the crowd to take it a hurried peep in ~ Monsieur the Marquis petrified, a slim finger would not have pointed to it because that a minute, prior to they all began away amongst the moss and also leaves, favor the much more fortunate hares who could find a living there.

Chateau and hut, stone face and also dangling figure, the red stain on the rock floor, and also the pure water in the village well—thousands of acres of land—a whole province of France—all France itself—lay under the night sky, concentrated into a pass out hair-breadth line. Therefore does a entirety world, with all its greatnesses and littlenesses, lied in a twinkling star. And also as mere person knowledge can split a ray of light and also analyse the manner of its composition, so, sublimer intelligences might read in the feeble shining of this earth of ours, every thought and also act, every vice and virtue, that every responsible biology on it.

The Defarges, husband and wife, came lumbering under the starlight, in your public vehicle, to that gate of Paris whereunto your journey normally tended. There was the normal stoppage in ~ the obstacle guardhouse, and also the normal lanterns came glancing forth for the usual examination and inquiry. Monsieur Defarge alighted; understanding one or 2 of the soldiery there, and one of the police. The last he was intimate with, and affectionately embraced.

When Saint Antoine had again enfolded the Defarges in his dusky wings, and also they, having lastly alighted near the Saint’s boundaries, were picking their method on foot through the black color mud and also offal that his streets, mam Defarge spoke to she husband:

“Say then, my friend; what did Jacques of the police phone call thee?”

“Very tiny to-night, but all the knows. There is another spy i was delegated for ours quarter. There may be countless more, because that all the he can say, however he knows of one.”

“Eh well!” stated Madame Defarge, increasing her eyebrows through a cool company air. “It is vital to register him. How do they call that man?”

“He is English.”

“So much the better. His name?”

“Barsad,” claimed Defarge, making it French by pronunciation. But, he had been so careful to get it accurately, that he then spelt it v perfect correctness.

“Barsad,” repeated madame. “Good. Christian name?”

“John.”

“John Barsad,” recurring madame, after ~ murmuring it as soon as to herself. “Good. His appearance; is it known?”

“Age, about forty years; height, around five feet nine; black hair; complexion dark; generally, quite handsome visage; eyes dark, face thin, long, and also sallow; sleep aquiline, yet not straight, having a strange inclination in the direction of the left cheek; expression, therefore, sinister.”

“Eh mine faith. It is a portrait!” said madame, laughing. “He shall be registered to-morrow.”

They turned right into the wine-shop, which to be closed (for it to be midnight), and where mam Defarge immediately took her post at her desk, counting the little moneys that had been taken throughout her absence, examined the stock, went v the entries in the book, made other entries of she own, confirm the serving male in every feasible way, and finally dismissed him to bed. Climate she turned the end the contents of the key of money for the second time, and began knotting them increase in she handkerchief, in a chain of different knots, for safe maintaining through the night. All this while, Defarge, with his pipe in his mouth, walked up and also down, complacently admiring, but never interfering; in i m sorry condition, indeed, as to the business and also his domestic affairs, that walked up and also down with life.

The night was hot, and also the shop, close shut and also surrounded by for this reason foul a neighbourhood, to be ill-smelling. Monsieur Defarge’s olfactory feeling was by no method delicate, yet the stock of wine smelt lot stronger 보다 it ever before tasted, and so walk the stock of rum and brandy and aniseed. He whiffed the link of fragrant away, together he placed down his smoked-out pipe.

“You room fatigued,” said madame, elevating her glance together she knot the money. “There are just the usual odours.”

“I to be a little tired,” her husband acknowledged.

“You room a little depressed, too,” stated madame, whose rapid eyes had actually never to be so will on the accounts, however they had actually had a beam or 2 for him. “Oh, the men, the men!”

“But my dear!” began Defarge.

“But my dear!” recurring madame, nodding firmly; “but mine dear! You space faint of heart to-night, mine dear!”

“Well, then,” claimed Defarge, together if a assumed were wrung the end of his breast, “it IS a long time.”

“It is a lengthy time,” repetitive his wife; “and once is it not a lengthy time? Vengeance and also retribution require a long time; it is the rule.”

“It does not take a lengthy time to strike a male with Lightning,” stated Defarge.

“How long,” request madame, composedly, “does it take to make and store the lightning? tell me.”

Defarge raised his head thoughtfully, together if there to be something in the too.

“It does no take a long time,” stated madame, “for an earthquake come swallow a town. Eh well! tell me how long it takes come prepare the earthquake?”

“A lengthy time, i suppose,” said Defarge.

“But when it is ready, that takes place, and also grinds to pieces everything prior to it. In the meantime, it is always preparing, despite it is not checked out or heard. The is your consolation. Keep it.”

She bound a knot with flashing eyes, together if that throttled a foe.

“I phone call thee,” stated madame, expanding her ideal hand, because that emphasis, “that although it is a lengthy time top top the road, that is top top the road and also coming. I tell thee it never ever retreats, and also never stops. Ns tell thee that is constantly advancing. Look around and consider the Eves of every the world that we know, consider the faces of every the world that us know, take into consideration the rage and also discontent come which the Jacquerie addresses chin with much more and much more of certainty every hour. Deserve to such things last? Bah! i mock you.”

“My brave wife,” returned Defarge, standing before her with his head a small bent, and also his hand clasped at his back, prefer a docile and attentive pupil before his catechist, “I perform not inquiry all this. But it has actually lasted a long time, and also it is possible—you understand well, mine wife, the is possible—that it may not come, throughout our lives.”

“Eh well! how then?” demanded madame, tying one more knot, as if over there were an additional enemy strangled.

“Well!” claimed Defarge, with a fifty percent complaining and fifty percent apologetic shrug. “We candlestick not watch the triumph.”

“We shall have actually helped it,” changed madame, with her extended hand in solid action. “Nothing that us do, is excellent in vain. Ns believe, with all mine soul, that us shall see the triumph. Yet even if not, even if ns knew certainly not, show me the neck of one aristocrat and tyrant, and also still i would—”

Then madame, through her teeth set, tied a an extremely terrible node indeed.

“Hold!” cried Defarge, reddening a small as if he felt charged with cowardice; “I too, my dear, will protect against at nothing.”

“Yes! yet it is her weakness that you sometimes must see your victim and also your opportunity, to sustain you. Sustain you yourself without that. As soon as the time comes, let loosened a tiger and a devil; but wait for the moment with the tiger and the devil chained—not shown—yet always ready.”

Madame imposed the conclusion that this item of advice by striking her tiny counter v her chain the money together if she knocked its brain out, and then collection the hefty handkerchief under her arm in a calm manner, and observing the it was time to walk to bed.

Next noontide witnessed the admirable mrs in her usual ar in the wine-shop, knitting away assiduously. A rose lay beside her, and also if she now and then glanced at the flower, it was through no infraction of her usual preoccupied air. There were a few customers, drinking or not drinking, was standing or seated, sprinkled about. The job was an extremely hot, and also heaps the flies, who were prolonging their inquisitive and also adventurous perquisitions right into all the glutinous small glasses close to madame, fell dead in ~ the bottom. Their decease make no impression top top the other flies out promenading, that looked at them in the coolest path (as if they themselves were elephants, or something as much removed), till they met the exact same fate. Curious to think about how heedless flies are!—perhaps they assumed as much at Court that clear summer day.

A number entering at the door threw a zero on mam Defarge i beg your pardon she felt to be a brand-new one. She laid down her knitting, and began to pen her rose in she head-dress, prior to she looked at the figure.

It was curious. The moment Madame Defarge take it up the rose, the customers ceased talking, and also began gradually to drop out of the wine-shop.

“Good day, madame,” stated the new-comer.

“Good day, monsieur.”

She stated it aloud, but included to herself, together she resumed she knitting: “Hah! good day, age around forty, height about five feet nine, black hair, generally rather handsome visage, complexion dark, eyes dark, thin, long and sallow face, aquiline nose however not straight, having a peculiar inclination towards the left cheek i beg your pardon imparts a sinister expression! an excellent day, one and also all!”

“Have the goodness to give me a tiny glass the old cognac, and a mouthful that cool fresh water, madame.”

Madame adhered to a polite air.

“Marvellous cognac this, madame!”

It was the very first time it had ever before been therefore complemented, and also Madame Defarge knew sufficient of that is antecedents to recognize better. She said, however, the the cognac to be flattered, and took up she knitting. The visitor watched her fingers because that a couple of moments, and took the possibility of observing the place in general.

“You knit with an excellent skill, madame.”

“I to be accustomed come it.”

“A pretty sample too!”

“YOU think so?” stated madame, looking at him v a smile.

“Decidedly. May one ask what it is for?”

“Pastime,” stated madame, still looking in ~ him v a smile while she fingers relocated nimbly.

“Not for use?”

“That depends. I may uncover a use for the one day. If ns do—Well,” stated madame, illustration a breath and nodding she head with a stem kind of coquetry, “I’ll usage it!”

It to be remarkable; but, the taste the Saint Antoine seemed to it is in decidedly opposed to a climbed on the head-dress of madame Defarge. Two guys had gone into separately, and also had been around to stimulate drink, when, capturing sight of that novelty, castle faltered, make a pretence that looking about as if for part friend that was no there, and also went away. Nor, of those who had actually been there as soon as this visitant entered, was there one left. They had all reduce off. The spy had kept his eye open, but had to be able come detect no sign. They had lounged far in a poverty-stricken, purposeless, accidental manner, rather natural and unimpeachable.

“JOHN,” believed madame, checking turn off her occupational as her fingers knitted, and also her eye looked at the stranger. “Stay long enough, and also I chandelier knit `BARSAD’ prior to you go.”

“You have a husband, madame?”

“I have.”

“Children?”

“No children.”

“Business appears bad?”

“Business is very bad; the human being are so poor.”

“Ah, the unfortunate, miserable people! so oppressed, too—as you say.”

“As you say,” madame retorted, correcting him, and deftly web an extra something right into his name that boded him no good.

“Pardon me; absolutely it was i who stated so, however you normally think so. Of course.”

“I think?” went back madame, in a high voice. “I and my husband have sufficient to perform to store this wine-shop open, there is no thinking. All we think, here, is exactly how to live. The is the subject WE think of, and also it offers us, from morning to night, sufficient to think about, without embarrassing our heads worrying others. I think because that others? No, no.”

The spy, who was over there to pick up any kind of crumbs he might find or make, did not allow his baffled state to express itself in his sinister face; but, stood v an wait of gossiping gallantry, leaning his elbow on madame Defarge’s small counter, and occasionally sipping his cognac.

“A negative business this, madame, of Gaspard’s execution. Ah! the bad Gaspard!” with a sigh of an excellent compassion.

“My faith!” changed madame, coolly and also lightly, “if people use knives because that such purposes, they need to pay because that it. The knew forward what the price of his luxury was; he has actually paid the price.”

“I believe,” stated the spy, dropping his soft voice come a ton that invite confidence, and expressing an injured revolutionary susceptibility in every muscle of his wicked face: “I think there is lot compassion and also anger in this neighbourhood, emotional the poor fellow? between ourselves.”

“Is there?” asked madame, vacantly.

“Is over there not?”

”—Here is mine husband!” claimed Madame Defarge.

As the keeper of the wine-shop gotten in at the door, the spy saluted him by poignant his hat, and also saying, v an engaging smile, “Good day, Jacques!” Defarge stopped short, and also stared at him.

“Good day, Jacques!” the spy repeated; v not rather so lot confidence, or fairly so simple a laugh under the stare.

“You cheat yourself, monsieur,” returned the keeper of the wine-shop. “You wrong me because that another. The is not my name. Ns am Ernest Defarge.”

“It is every the same,” stated the spy, airily, however discomfited too: “good day!”

“Good day!” answer Defarge, drily.

“I to be saying come madame, v whom I had actually the satisfied of chatting as soon as you entered, the they tell me there is—and no wonder!—much sympathy and anger in Saint Antoine, touching the unhappy fate of negative Gaspard.”

“No one has actually told me so,” stated Defarge, shower his head. “I understand nothing the it.”

Having said it, he passed behind the tiny counter, and also stood with his hand on the earlier of his wife’s chair, looking end that barrier at the human to whom they were both opposed, and also whom either of castle would have shot through the greatest satisfaction.

The spy, well provided to his business, walk not readjust his unconscious attitude, however drained his little glass that cognac, took a sip of fresh water, and also asked for one more glass of cognac. Mam Defarge poured it the end for him, took to her knitting again, and hummed a little song end it.

“You seem to understand this quarter well; the is come say, better than i do?” observed Defarge.

“Not at all, however I hope to recognize it better. Ns am so profoundly interested in that is miserable inhabitants.”

“Hah!” muttered Defarge.

“The pleasure of conversing through you, Monsieur Defarge, recalls to me,” sought the spy, “that I have actually the honour of cherishing some amazing associations with your name.”

“Indeed!” stated Defarge, with lot indifference.

“Yes, indeed. When Doctor Manette was released, you, his old domestic, had the fee of him, i know. That was yielded to you. You watch I am notified of the circumstances?”

“Such is the fact, certainly,” stated Defarge. He had actually had it conveyed to him, in an accidental touch that his wife’s elbow together she knitted and also warbled, the he would certainly do best to answer, but always with brevity.

“It was to you,” stated the spy, “that his daughter came; and it to be from your treatment that his daughter took him, attach by a neat brown monsieur; exactly how is he called?—in a small wig—Lorry—of the bank of Tellson and also Company—over come England.”

“Such is the fact,” recurring Defarge.

“Very interesting remembrances!” stated the spy. “I have known medical professional Manette and his daughter, in England.”

“Yes?” said Defarge.

“You don’t hear much about them now?” claimed the spy.

“No,” said Defarge.

“In effect,” madame struck in, looking up from her work and also her small song, “we never hear around them. We obtained the news the their safe arrival, and perhaps an additional letter, or possibly two; but, due to the fact that then, castle have gradually taken their roadway in life—we, ours—and we have actually held no correspondence.”

“Perfectly so, madame,” responded the spy. “She is walking to it is in married.”

“Going?” echoed madame. “She was pretty enough to have actually been married lengthy ago. You English space cold, it seems to me.”

“Oh! You recognize I am English.”

“I perceive her tongue is,” changed madame; “and what the tongue is, I mean the male is.”

He did no take the identification together a compliment; but he made the finest of it, and turned that off v a laugh. After sipping his cognac come the end, that added:

“Yes, miss out on Manette is going to it is in married. Yet not to an Englishman; to one who, like herself, is French by birth. And speaking that Gaspard (ah, poor Gaspard! It to be cruel, cruel!), the is a curious point that she is going come marry the nephew that Monsieur the Marquis, because that whom Gaspard to be exalted to that height of so countless feet; in other words, the current Marquis. Yet 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.”

Madame Defarge knitted steadily, yet the intelligence had actually a palpable impact upon she husband. Perform what that would, behind the tiny counter, regarding the striking that a light and also the lighting of his pipe, he was troubled, and his hand was not trustworthy. The spy would have been no spy if he had actually failed to see it, or to record it in his mind.

Having made, at least, this one hit, every little thing it might prove to be worth, and no customers comes in to help him to any other, Mr. Barsad paid because that what he had drunk, and took his leave: taking occasion to say, in a genteel manner, prior to he departed, the he looked forward to the satisfied of seeing Monsieur and Madame Defarge again. For part minutes after he had arised into the external presence of Saint Antoine, the husband and wife remained specifically as he had actually left them, lest he must come back.

“Can it be true,” stated Defarge, in a low voice, looking down at his mam as the stood smoking cigarettes with his hand on the earlier of she chair: “what he has actually said that Ma’amselle Manette?”

“As he has actually said it,” changed madame, lifting she eyebrows a little, “it is more than likely false. Yet it may be true.”

“If the is—” Defarge began, and stopped.

“If it is?” recurring his wife.

”—And if it does come, while we live to check out it triumph—I hope, for she sake, Destiny will keep her husband the end of France.”

“Her husband’s destiny,” stated Madame Defarge, with her usual composure, “will take him wherein he is come go, and will lead him to the finish that is to finish him. The is all i know.”

“But the is very strange—now, in ~ least, is the not really strange”—said Defarge, rather pleading v his wife to induce her to recognize it, “that, after every our sympathy because that Monsieur she father, and herself, her husband’s name must be proscribed under her hand in ~ this moment, by the side of that infernal dog’s who has actually just left us?”

“Stranger points than that will occur when it does come,” answer madame. “I have them both here, that a certainty; and also they space both below for their merits; that is enough.”

She roiled up she knitting once she had actually said those words, and presently took the increased out of the handkerchief the was wound around her head. Either Saint Antoine had actually an instinctive sense that the objectionable decoration to be gone, or Saint Antoine was on the watch for its disappearance; howbeit, the Saint take it courage to lounge in, very shortly afterwards, and also the wine-shop recovered the habitual aspect.

In the evening, at which season of every others Saint Antoine turned himself within out, and also sat ~ above door-steps and window-ledges, and also came to the corners that vile streets and courts, because that a breath that air, madame Defarge through her work in she hand to be accustomed to happen from location to place and also from team to group: a Missionary—there were many like her—such as the civilization will do well never to breed again. All the females knitted. Lock knitted unsecured things; but, the mechanical job-related was a mechanical substitute for eating and drinking; the hands relocated for the jaws and also the cradle apparatus: if the bony fingers had actually been still, the stomachs would have been much more famine-pinched.

But, together the fingers went, the eyes went, and the thoughts. And as mam Defarge relocated on from team to group, all 3 went quicker and also fiercer among every little knot of ladies that she had talked with, and also left behind.

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Her husband smoked at his door, looking ~ her with admiration. “A great woman,” claimed he, “a strong woman, a grand woman, a frightfully grand woman!”

Darkness closeup of the door around, and also then come the ringing of church bells and the distant beating the the military drums in the palace Courtyard, together the females sat knitting, knitting. Darkness incorporated them. An additional darkness was closing in as surely, as soon as the church bells, climate ringing pleasantly in numerous an airy steeple over France, must be melted right into thundering cannon; as soon as the army drums must be beating come drown a wrgaianation.nethed voice, that night every potent as the voice of Power and Plenty, Freedom and also Life. So much was closing in around the women that sat knitting, knitting, that they their very selves to be closing in approximately a framework yet unbuilt, where they to be to sit knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads.