Sunday, September 19, 2010

A tale of Two Cities - Detailed Summary Part - 3

Chapter 1: In Secret
As Charles Darnay moved along the road to Paris, he realised that things had changed in France. There were road blocks all along the way with groups of revolutionaries, questioning and cross-questioning travellers, examining their papers, allowing them to pass or turning them back—and sometimes taking them straight to prison. Charles Darnay experienced the new controls as soon as he landed in France.

Charles Darnay lodged himself in a small inn for the night. He was rudely woken up in the middle of the night by a group of revolutionaries who told him that orders had been received that he had to be brought to Paris under armed escort. Darnay protested but it was of no use. On the way to Paris, crowds denounced him, “Down with the ernigrant” but he remained confident that he would ultimately be able to convince the revolutionaries that he meant no harm.
When Darnay finally arrived in Paris, he was taken straight to the guardhouse. His papers were examined by Monsieur Defarge and when Darnay confirmed that he was Evrémonde, he was taken straight to prison. Darnay’s protests were met with the statement that there were now new laws in France by which emigrants were without rights. The officer in charge of the prison gave a paper to Defarge, an which were written the words, “In Secret.” It was when Darnay was being marched off to prison that he realised that he had been trapped and there was little hope of getting out. Eventually he was escorted to a crowded cell where he was asked by the group of aristocrats whether he had been sent “in secret.” Darnay said he had been, to which the group kept quiet. In secret’ meant solitary confinement. Darnay was taken to a small room, four and a half by five paces, in which he kept hearing the words, “He made shoes, he made shoes.’
Chapter 2: The Grindstone
Jarvis Lorry of Tellson’s bank was now in Paris to tort out the accounts of the French clients. It was a very complicated job and was taking him a long time to untangle. From a window near his chair, he noticed that the revolutionaries had placed a grindstone a short time ago. The sight of the huge grindstone made him shudder with fear but he could not figure out what it was meant for. So he decided to go out and see things for himself when the door opened and Lucie and Dr Manette appeared. They told him that Charles Darnay was in Paris and in prison. As they spoke, a large crowd had gathered near the grindstone and they were sharpening their swords, axes, and all sorts of blades against it. The faces and clothes of the crowd were spattered with blood and as each finished sharpening his blade, he ran off into the night to finish off his business with the aristocrats. Dr Manette went out to meet the crowd and since he was a much respected figure who had spent years in the Bastille they listened to him when he asked them to save the life of Charles Evrémonde.
Chapter 3: The Shadow
Jerry Lorry decided to rent new lodgings for Lucie and Dr Manette just in case the crowds objected to Tellson’s bank protecting emigrants. He found a set of lodgings close to the bank and Jerry Cruncher was posted there to insure their requirements.
After he had settled the Manettes, Lorry received a visitor––Monsieur Defarge who brought a message from Dr Manette confirming Charles Darnay’s safety and stating that he had a message for Lucie as well. In the courtyard outside, Lorry met Madame Defarge and The Vengeance, her lieutenant. Both would accompany him to see Lucie, Defarge explained, so that they would be able to recognise those who needed to be saved, should such a need arise. Lorry did not agree with his explanation but he nevertheless took the party along to see Lucie Manette.
Lucie had been crying but was encouraged to receive the note from Charles who said that he was ell and that Dr Manette was exercising influence on his behalf. Overcome with emotion, Lucie pleaded with Madame Defarge not to do her husband any harm, but, she remained cold and aloof. In fact, Madre Defarge Denied to Vengeance and remarked that Frenchwomen for many years had seen their husbands and fathers thrown ante prison and their loved ones, suffer from hunger, poverty and sickness. Would it be expected she added, that the difficulties of one wife and mother would be of importance now?
This confrontation between Lucie and Madame Defarge indicates the shape of things to come: there will be no mercy shown and Madame Defarge will extract her revenge. But what is also important is that Miss Pross, who had accompanied Lucie, gets a measure of Madame Defarge which will come in handy soon enough.
Chapter 4: Calm in the Storm
After four days absence, Dr Manette returned. Dr Manette told Mr Lorry that he had left them, he went to the La Force prison along with the crowd. A self-appointed tribunal had been set up and sentences had been passed indiscriminately on the prisoners: some were released but many were simply butchered. He said he had been successful in obtaining Charles Darnay’s release but there was an inexplicable last-minute hitch. But instead of being kept in isolation, he was now maintained in safe custody. But even though he was able to bring messages from Charles regularly, he could not obtain his release or even to have him brought to trial. The atmosphere of the times was tense. The King and Queen had been beheaded, and the guillotine had been working overtime. But Charles Darnay’s fate remained undecided. A year and three months had already passed.
Comment: A Reversal of Roles
The old Dr Manette had now become the hope and strength of the family and friends. Lucie has come to depend on him entirely just as he had to depend on Lucie completely when he returned home to England.
Chapter 5: The Wood Sawyer
Although fifteen months had passed, Lucie had managed to keep her spirits up by merely keeping the house clean and tidy, in anticipation of Charles’ return home. Meanwhile Dr Manette had assured her that he would be able to get Charles released. On one occasion, Dr Manette informed Lucie that there was a certain window in La Force prison at which Charles was occasionally able to be at three in the afternoon. If Lucie were to stand outside the prison at a particular location at that time, it would be possible for Charles to see her, even though she would not be able to see him. So Lucie went there regularly at three 

in the afternoon. On her regular visits to the spot, Lucie often encountered a woodcutter who told her one day that he knew why she came there regularly.

One afternoon as she stood there, a crowd of people gathered around a corner of the prison; among them, Lucie saw the wood-cutter. The mob began to dance a wild, uninhibited dance born of the Revolution and its passions. The crowd danced around Lucie, circling wildly and then moving off, leaving the young woman shaken and confused. Just then Dr Manette appeared and behind him, Madame Defarge. The daughter and the doctor left the spot, and he informed her that Charles was scheduled to appear before the tribunal the next day.
At Tellson’s bank, Mr Lorry appeared to be disturbed. There was a strange coat lying across a chair; and when Lucie told him that Charles had been summoned for the next day, he turned and repeated the words.
Many months of waiting are now coming to a head for Lucie and her friends. Lucie maintains an outward calm but the shadow of Madame Defarge is always present. The woodsawyer whom Lucie encounter­ed is the mender of roads and it is he who passes on the information of Lucie’s presence outside the prison gates to Madame Defarge who turns up one day to check on her. Madame Defarge is determined to exterminate the family of Evrémondes with her relentless pursuit of them.
The mysterious visitor to Lorry’s office, whose coat is seen lying across the chair, is Sidney Carton. He has come to Paris to perform the finest act of his worthless existence.
Chapter 6: Triumph
On the day of his trial, 15 prisoners were summoned to the tribunal and all 15 were condemned in an hour and a half. Charles Darnay took his place before the court, charged of being an emigrant who under present decrees was condemned to death. The crowd cried for his head, Under questioning from the President of the Tribunal, Darnay testified that he had forsaken his title of Marquis. Of his choice he had gone to England to earn his living by his own labours, and had married a Frenchwoman, the daughter of Dr Manette. Charles called for Gabelle and Dr Manette as witnesses.
Gabelle corroborated Charles Darnay’s testimony and Dr Manette told the court of Charles’ deep devotion to his daughter. Amid jubilation and applause, the President of the tribunal declared Charles Darnay free. He went home amidst much joy and happiness.
Chapter 7: A Knock at the Door
Despite Charles’ safe return, Lucie could not avoid feeling uneasy. So many were being executed and Charles’ acquittal was simply too good to be true. Dr Manette however felt that there was nothing to worry now and Sooner or later they would return to England when conditions in France became better.
Just as they were talking about their hopes and fears, there was a knock on the door. Four coarse looking men wearing the traditional red caps of the Jacquerie announced they had come for Charles Darnay who was to be brought once more before the tribunal the next day. Dr Manette was stunned but was able to enquire of the four men just who had brought this re-trial. The citizen, Evrémonde had been denounced by the Defarges—and one other. To the question about the other’s identity, he received only a strange look and the comment that his question would be answered the, next day.
It is obvious that the Defarges, particularly Madame Defarge, were not satisfied with the Tribunal’s acquittal of Charles Darnay. Therefore they denounced him and he is brought up on charges again. But who is the third person? Dr Manette inquiries and receives a strange look. It is Dr Manette himself, who is, in an ironic and strange way, the third person to denounce the Marquis Saint Evrémonde and thus his son-in-law.
Chapter 8: A Game at Cards
When Charles Darnay was being taken prisoner, Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher had gone shopping. They went into a shop to buy some wine where they met up with Solomon, Miss, Prose-brother. Solomon begged her in a frightened tone not to call him by his name in public. They went outside when Jerry Cruncher asked him if his name was John Solomon or Solomon John to which he said he had dropped his name “over the water” meaning that he had been living in France under an assumed name. But as to what this name was, he refused to say until Sidney Carton, who also joined them, provided it: Barsad, or the spy in the French prison. In fact he was called “the sheep of the prisons” but it was an occupation as distasteful as the one 

he held in London, as the spy in the Old Bailey. Sidney Carton had been telling “Hamad” about his dubious background when he was informed that Charles Darnay had been taken prisoner again. It was a desperate situation, requiring desperate measures, Carton said, a situation that required a “friend” in the prison—and that friend would have to be John Barsad. “Barsad” said a man would have to be good at cards to accomplish that and Carton told him what cards he held.

Carton now told “Barsad” of his entire background. He was a spy and an informer in the service of the people who knew him only by an assumed name; although he was in the employ of the French revolutionary government he was once in the service of the aristocratic English government which was an enemy of France and its people. By implication, Carton said, he could be taken as a double agent. In fact, Carton said that Madame Defarge had ‘knitted’ his name as an agent of the French aristocratic government. Finally, Carton disclosed his trump card: “Barsad” was seen in the company of another spy whose name was Cly, who was believed to be dead. The string of facts that Carton provided put ‘Barsad’ in a corner. With that, Sidney Carton led him to an adjoining room to explain the plan in which the spy was about to be drawn.
Chapter 9: The Game Made
When Sidney Carton and Barsad had retired to the adjoining room they spoke in such low voices that they could not be heard. To Lorry’s questions after Barsad had left about what they had accomplished, Carton replied that in case things should not go well with Charles Darnay in prison, he was assured access to him. Lorry then talked of his long career (he was 78) and his love and affection for the Darnays. As Carton accompanied Lorry to the Darnay home, he said he would be in the courtroom the next day as a spectator in the crowd. He then went across to the shop of a chemist to buy two packets of chemicals. Unable to sleep, he wandered about the streets of Paris till the early hours of the morning.
Sidney Carton went to court the next day. The same bench of judges were present but there was an ominous air, uncompromising and unlike the favourable mood of the previous day’s trial. As the hearing commenced, it was announced that Charles Darnay had been denounced by three individuals: Ernest Defarge, Therese Defarge and Alexander Manette. Amid a cry from the crowd, Dr Manette rose to protect but was asked by the President of the tribunal to be silent.
Ernest Defarge was asked to testify and recounted the history of his service to Dr Manette, the circumstances of his imprisonment, his release and Defarge’s subsequent care of him. When the Bastille was taken, Defarge continued, he went to One Hundred and Five North Tower, Dr Manette’s old cell where he found a handwritten paper located in the chimney. The President of the tribunal ordered the document to be read.
The whole atmosphere of the courtroom was slowly becoming hostile to Charles Darnay.
Chapter 10: The Substance and the Shadow
Dr Manette’s diary had been written with a rusted iron point dipped in a mixture of soot, charcoal powder and blood. The document was hidden away in the chimney hole where Defarge discovered it after the Bastille had fallen. The doctor wrote that on a cloudy but moonlight night in December 1757, he had been walking along the Seine river when he heard his name called from a carriage that stopped nearby. Before he could do anything, two men came and whisked him away. He was taken to a lonely house where a beautiful young girl was tied to a bed and was crying in pain. Over and over again, she repeated the same words, “My husband, my father, and my brother!” She would then count up to twelve and say, “Hush.” Dr Manette gave some medicines and sat next to the patient for some time. Just as he was about to go, he was told there was another patient with a sword wound. The patient was a young peasant boy. When Dr Manette enquired how this had happened, he was told that “this crazed young common dog” had forced one of the brothers to draw his sword and had fallen by that sword “like a gentleman.”
In his dying moments, the peasant boy told Dr Manette his story. His family were poor peasants who had been severely treated by two noble brothers, much as peasants had been treated by all across France. The peasant boy’s sister had married a man from her own social level, a man who was ill and whom nursed. The ‘younger’ of the two aristocratic brothers took a fancy for the sister. The older brother, who was the Marquis, held all the power over the peasants, agreed to lend the girl to the younger brother. However the girl refused the man’s advances. The two brothers, according to their rights as nobles, tied the young husband to a cart and drove him day after day in very bad weather. Still the man refused to persuade his wife to yield On one occasion at noontime when he had been taken out of the carriage, the husband cried twelve times, “once for every broke of the bell” and died in his wife’s arms. The girl was then taken away for the 

younger aristocrat’s pleasure; and when the news of the fate reached her father, died of shock. The peasant boy had hidden a second sister away where the brothers could not find her. The brothers climbed the garret (the room at the top of a house) and when the peasant challenged the brothers, he was mortally wounded. Just before he died, he cursed the Marquis and his entire family for all time to come.

When Dr Manette returned to the room where the girl continued to cry in pain, he discovered that the girl was expecting a baby. Dr Manette knew that there was very little he could do to save the girl and after a week she died. After Dr Manette was warned not to say a word about what he had seen, he was driven home. He was so shocked by what he had seen that he refused to accept any payment but the next morning he found a gold coin in the letter box. He then decided to write to the Minister at Court, telling him of the whole story and the two patients whom he had attended. Of course he did not expect that anything would come out of it, but he also did not expect that he might have to pay a Heavy price himself.
One day, Dr Manette was informed that a lady, who identified herself as the wife of Marquis Saint Evrémonde, was waiting to see him. She told him that she knew all about the events that had occurred and asked him if he knew the address of the younger sister of the peasant girl and her brother who had died in the Evremonde household because she wanted to make amends for what had happened. Unfortunately he did not know of the younger sister’s whereabouts; and as the lady left, she pointed to a young boy of two or three, who waited in the carriage and said: “I have a presentiment that if no other innocent atonement is made for this, it will one day be required of him.”
That evening a man was admitted to the house by Dr Manette’s savant, Ernest Defarge. He was reported to be in a very serious condition and required his attention immediately. When he left the house, Dr Manette was seized from behind and gagged him. The two brothers appeared from nowhere, identified him and without a word burnt the letter he had sent to the Minister at Court. Dr Manette was taken directly to the Bastille to begin his 18 years in “One Hundred and Five North Tower.”
The final lines of Dr Manette’s testimony denounced the Evrérnondes, “them and their descendants, to the last of their race...”. In his “unbearable agony”, he denounced them “to the times when all these things shall be answered for. I denounce them to Heaven and Hell.” When these lines were read there was not a touch of humansympathy to be detected in the roar of the crowd, as one juryman after another voted death to Charles Darnay. Madame Defarge turned to Vengeance and wondered with a smile if the influence of the doctor could save Darnay now.
We now know the entire family tree of Charles Darnay. They were the Evrémondes who had indulged in all the excesses before the revolution. And the younger sister of the two young peasants who died at the hands of the Evrémonde brothers was Maclaine Defarge, and the younger daughter of the father who died of shock and heartbreak.
Chapter 11: Dusk
With the trial ended, Lucie embraced her husband for the last time before he was led back to his cell. Dr Manette was overcome with grief but Charles Darnay consoled him with the words, “it could not he otherwise. Be comforted and forgive me.” When Darnay was led off to the cell, Lucie was overcome and fainted. Sidney Carton moved through the crowd and carried her to a carriage. They reached home but Lucie remained unconscious. Carton bent low, kissed her on her check and whispered something as he did. Years later, little Lucie recalled the moment and the words Carton whispered to her mother were “A life you love.” Before leaving, he told Dr Manette to do his best to save Darnay although he knew there was no hope. “He will perish,” be told Jarvis Lorry as he went home. Nonetheless he told Dr Manette that he would wait for the results of his efforts till nine o’clock .
Chapter 12: Darkness
When Sidney Caxton left Jarvis Lorry at the door of the Darnays’ he did not know what to do. He decided that it was wiser not to make a secret of his presence in Paris. So, he decided to visit the Defarges’ wineshop. When Carton entered, Monsieur and Madame were present along with Jacques Three and the Vengeance. He ordered some wine in faltering French, and Madame did not fail to notice the similarity with Charles Darnay.
Carton leant a lot from his visit. He learnt that Madame Defarge was intent on exterminating Dr Manette, his daughter, and little Lucie as well. Ernest Defarge objected and said it should stop with the execution of Charles Darnay. But Madame would not budge saying 

that she was the younger sister of the brother and sister who had perished. Carton paid his bill and left.

At nine o’clock, Carton went over to see Lorry. The doctor’s efforts to save Charles Darnay failed. In fact, the doctor was shouting: “Where is my bench ... what have you done with my work?...Time presses; I must finish these shoes. . Give me my work.” He tore at his hair and looked mad. After they had calmed the doctor, Sidney Carton told the part Jarvis Lorry had to play to save the lives of the doctor and Lucie, who were in the greatest danger. He then gave Lorry an exit pass from Paris, which he fortunately located in the doctor’s case. It granted a safe passage for Lucie, little Lucie and the doctor; and as Lorry had already arranged for departure from France, Carton gave this pass along with his own exit papers for departure on the following afternoon. Carton told Lorry that the doctor, Lucie, and her child were in danger of being denounced by the woodcutter who had seen Lucie signalling to the prisoner. They would be charged with a plot and the doctor and little Lucie would perhaps lose their lives as well. Carton then told Lorry that he was to see that they were all in the coach on the following afternoon. “You will save them all. “ When Carton appeared and took his place in the coach they should drive off to England with the greatest speed.
Chapter 13: Fifty Two
On the day on which Charles Darnay was to be executed a total of fifty-two prisoners were to be guillotined. In his cell, Darnay was composed and resigned to his fate. He wrote letters to his wife, Dr Manette, another to Jarvis Lorry; but he never thought of Sidney Carton at all.
The hour of his execution was three o’clock and it was a little past one when Sidney Carton was admitted to Darnay’s cell. Taken aback at his sudden appearance and his insistence to exchange clothes, Darnay said it would be sheer madness to think of escape. “You will only die with me,” he warned Carton. Carton paid no attention and continued to arrange Darnay’s hair and exchange their ties. With “a strength of will and action” Carton made Darnay seem like a child in his hands. He ordered Darnay to sit and write what he dictated, and Darn-ay agreed. The note read: “If you remember these words that passed between us long ago, you will comprehend this when you see it. I am thankful that the time has come when I can prove them to you. That to do so is no subject for regret or grief.” Without stopping to speak, Carton drew form his pocket the chemicals he had bought from the chemist and pressed them close to Darnay’s nose. Darnay struggled briefly before the drugs took action when he slumped to the ground. Barsad who had arranged for Carton’s entry into the cell begged Carton not to betray him. Carton replied there was no need for fear for he would be “true to the death.” On the way to Darnay’s cell, Carton had pretended to be semi-conscious so that he would not draw the suspicions of the guards. Darnay was carried out by the guards and Carton sat in his place in the cell.
At two o’clock, Citizen pretended was summoned from the cell, along with the fifty-two others. Among those who waited was an obscure little girl, who had been imprisoned with Darnay in the prison. As they talked, she asked whether she might ride with him in the cart to the guillotine. Gradually the girl realised that the man before her was not Evrémonde. In quiet astonishment, the girl asked: “Are you dying for him?’ “And his wife and child?” “Hush! Yes,” was the reply.
At that moment as the afternoon shadows began to fall over the prison, a coach stopped at the barrier gate for identification. Papers were produced identifying the doctor, Lucie, little Lucie, Jerry Lorry, and Sidney Carton, “the English advocate. not in strong health.” The barrier was crossed and another till the passengers were safe on the road to England. As the evening gave way to darkness Charles Darnay began slowly to return to consciousness. He still thought he was in the cell with Sidney Carton.
Chapter 14: The Knitting Done
Madame Defarge as we have already learnt earlier was determined to exterminate the entire Evrémonde clan. She has a discussion with Vengeance and Jacques Three and they finally decide that even Dr Manette, apart from Lucie and little Lucie had to be executed. So, the Madame gives her knitting to Vengeance telling her to keep a place for her at the executions, and goes off to Lucie’s rooms.
Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher had seen the coach pull off just a short time ago. It was arranged that Miss Pross and Jerry would depart after the main party left. After seeing off the coach, Miss Pross returned to the rooms to find Madame Defarge. “The wife of Evrémonde; where is she?” was the demand in French. Miss Pross quickly closed all the open doors, realising that they suggest flight and then stood firmly against the room occupied by Lucie. “Let me see her,” demanded Madame Defarge. “I am an Englishwoman,” returned Miss Pross. “No, you wicked woman; I am your match.” Suddenly suspecting that they had fled. Madame flung open the doors and discovered that the rooms were in complete disorder. Determined to see the room where Miss Pross blocked the way, Madame Defarge got locked in a struggle with Miss Pross who was the stronger of the two. Madame pulled out her pistol and in the struggle turned the barrel of the gun towards herself and shot herself. Miss Pross collected her belongings and rushed off to meet Jerry Lorry. The two climbed onto the carriage and sped off to safety. Meanwhile the rumble of the carts could be heard in the distance. But Miss Pross rode on without hearing a thing; she had been deafened for life by the pistol shot exploding near her ear.
Chapter 15: The Footsteps Die Out Forever
Through the streets of Paris, six carts carried the victims to the guillotine. Many of the onlookers were anxious to see the aristocrat, Evrémonde. On the steps of the church stood Barsad, greatly agitated until he saw Evrémonde. Sitting on a chair and calling for Madame Defarge was The Vengeance, who cried in vain for the Madame to see the slaughter. But she too had gone like the rest of the fifty-two that evening.
That night the people who had witnessed the executions remarked how placid the aristocrat Evrémonde looked till the last. Many even said that he looked “sublime and prophetic.” If Sidney Carton had been allowed to write down his thoughts before his death, they might have been prophetic too. He might have told of “a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from the abyss.” Peace and happiness and prosperity would be the lot of those for whom he was sacrificing his life. If Carton’s last thoughts were recorded, they might have spoken of the special place his memory would hold in the hearts of his dear friends and their descendants. His final words might have been: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

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