The Big Read III: A Tale of Two Cities -- Charles Dickens Book the Second: The Golden Thread, Chapters 6-9

Taleof2cities Chapter Six:  Hundreds of People
In which we enjoy the return of Miss Pross, Queen of Awesome.

  • Four months later...
  • In addition to the many other perfections of Miss Lucie Manette (Yes, TadMack, I am including her forehead!):

Although the Doctor's daughter had known nothing of the country of her birth, she appeared to have innately derived from it that ability to make much of little means, which is one of its most useful and most agreeable characteristics.

I suspect that cartoon birds braid her hair in the morning, too.*

  • "...Miss Pross, the wild red woman, strong of hand..."  Hooray!  She's back!  I hope she uses her manly strength to fling someone across the room again!
  • Have you ever noticed that people talk to themselves A LOT in books?  I know lots of people who mutter to themselves (including myself on occasion), but very few who actually talk to themselves in grammatically correct, full-length sentences.
  • Miss Pross should totally be the female lead instead of Miss Manette:

"I don't want dozens of people who are not at all worthy of Ladybird, to come here looking after her," said Miss Pross.

"Do dozens come for that purpose?"

"Hundreds," said Miss Pross.

It was characteristic of this lady (as of some other people before her time and since) that whenever her original proposition was questioned, she exaggerated it.

Poor Mr. Jarvis Lorry.  He's so totally out of his depth with her.  "...Mr. Lorry shook his head; using that important part of himself as a sort of fairy cloak that would fit anything."  Hee.

  • Gosh.  I don't think I've ever met one of these "creatures":  " of those unselfish creatures---found only only among women--who will, for pure love and admiration, bind themselves willing slaves, to youth when they have lost it, to beauty that they never had, to accomplishments that they were never fortunate enough to gain, to bright hopes that never shone upon their own sombre lives.
  • Enter Mr. Darney, who might be Miss Pross' "Hundreds of people", as she got all twitchy and had to go inside almost the moment he arrived.
  • Mr. Darney's story about a hidden compartment in the Tower caused Doctor Manette to give him That Look again -- what does it mean, I wonder?  Is he scared of Mr. Darney himself?  I don't think so.  Of something Mr. Darney knows, or something Doctor Manette is afraid he might know?  Something Mr. Darney reminds him of, or something Doctor Manette suspects him of?  ?????
  • "Mr. Carton had lounged in, but he made only Two."  Okay, now I like him again.  The lounging did it.
  • Gosh.  Was the storm, oh, I don't know... FORESHADOWING?  Oh.  Yep.  Mr. Dickens does love to let his audience know that Something Big is coming:  "Perhaps.  Perhaps, see the great crowd of people with its rush and roar, bearing down upon them, too."  What's amazing to me is that even though it's rather over-the-top, it's still very effective.  Or, at least, it made me all shivery.

Chapter Seven:  Monseigneur in Town
In which I got so caught up in the action that I didn't actually take any notes so I'm just going to throw some quotes up.

  • The bit about Monseigneur and his chocolate is wonderfully nasty:

Deep would have been the blot upon his escutcheon if his chocolate had been ignobly waited on by only three men; he must have died of two.

  • "The text of his order (altered from the original by only a pronoun, which is not much) ran: "The earth and the fulness thereof are mine, saith Monseigneur.""  Oooh ho ho, he's so totally going to get smote.
  • "The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance upon Monseigneur.  In the outermost room were half a dozen exceptional people who had had, for a few years, some vague misgiving in them that things in general were going rather wrong."
  • "The complaint had sometimes made itself audible, even in that deaf city and dumb age, that, in the narrow streets without footways, the fierce patrician custom of hard driving endangered and maimed the mere vulgar in a barbarous manner.  But few cared enough for that to think of it a second time, and, in this matter, as in all others, the common wretches were left to get out of their difficulties as they could."
  • ""It is extraordinary to me," said he, "that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children.  One or the other of you is for ever in the way.  How do I know what injury you have done my horses?""  I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd torn him limb-from-limb after that little speech.
  • Who threw the gold coin back at the Marquis (who so totally would have been fine with a hit-and-run if his horse hadn't fallen)?  Was it the newly grieving father?  Defarge?  Madame Defarge?  (Probably not Madame Defarge, as she seems to be more of a watcher than a do-er, but if anyone could bend down, pick up a gold coin and throw it through the window of a moving carriage WHILE STILL KNITTING, it would be her.)

Chapter Eight:  Monseigneur in the Country
In which the Marquis continues to suck mightily.

  • Crops in the country, not so abundant.  And:

The village had its one poor street, with its poor brewery, poor tannery, poor tavern, poor stable-yard for relays of post-horses, poor fountain, all usual poor appointments.  It had its poor people too.

  • Sooo.  Spectre or real person hanging from the Marquis' carriage?
  • "The half dozen who were peering at the chain were still among the wheels, like sheep; the wheels turned so suddenly that they were lucky to save their skins and bones; they had very little else to save, or they might not have been so fortunate."
  • Okay, I admit it.  I'm feeling a little bloodthirsty.  Actually, more than a little.

Chapter Nine:  The Gorgon's Head
In which I used an impressive amount of self-restraint and didn't swear AT ALL in regards to the stupid and horrible Marquis. 

  • " a luxurious age and country."  HA!  Well, for the Marquis, at any rate.
  • Nice.  The Marquis is spooked.  I hope.  He deserves to be the main character in one of those old radio horror plays -- you know, the ones that always end with the main character either going bananas or dying due to The Fear.
  • Oh.  Charles Darney is his nephew?  I wondered, at the end of the last chapter, if he could be Monsieur Charles...  So is that why Doctor Manette gave him The Look?  Because there's a family resemblance and the Marquis had something to do with the imprisonment, or maybe because he saw Darney at some point during his imprisonment?
  • And I haven't forgotten that Sydney Carton looks just like Charles Darney.  Mysteries upon mysteries!
  • "...the uncle made a graceful gesture of protest, which was so clearly a slight form of good breeding that it was not reassuring."  Excellent.  I like that someone can  run people over all over the place and still be considered well-bred.  You suck, Marquis!
  • YES!!  But who killed the Marquis?  Somehow I doubt it was actually a spectre.  Who is this JACQUES??  I hope Mr. Charles Darney doesn't get blamed.


*Yes, I swiped that from Veronica Mars.



The Reading Schedule
Book the First, Chapters 1-3
Book the First, Chapters 4-6
Book the Second, Chapters 1-5


Other readers/bloggers:

TadMack @ Finding Wonderland
Heidi @ Adventures in Multiplicity


Free copies of A Tale of Two Cities are available at Project Gutenberg and Librivox.