The Big Read III: A Tale of Two Cities -- Charles Dickens Book the Third: The Track of a Storm, Chapters 9-12

Taleof2cities Chapter Nine:  The Game Made
In which Mr. Lorry sees Sydney's good side, Sydney goes for a midnight ramble and Darnay's second trial begins.

  • Ha ha ha.  I forgot that Jerry's grave-robbing might disturb my darling Mr. Lorry:

...Mr. Lorry looked at Jerry in considerable doubt and mistrust.  That honest tradesman's manner of receiving the look, did not inspire confidence; he changed the leg on which he rested, as often as if he had fifty of those limbs, and were trying them all; he examined his finger-nails with a very questionable closeness of attention; and whenever Mr. Lorry's eye caught his, he was taken with that peculiar kind of short cough requiring the hollow of his hand before it, which is seldom, if ever, known to be an infirmity attendant on perfect openness of character.

I'm glad to know that pretending to inspect one's fingernails goes back so far.  I find that hilarious for some reason.

  • So Sydney has fixed it so he can get access (through Barsad/Solomon/spy-face) to Darnay IF this new trial goes badly.  I'm starting to think that Mr. Charles Dickens and I will NOT be friends by the end of this book.
  • And he's totally making Sydney more and more likable.  Grrr.  This almost choked me up:

"You are a good man and a true friend," said Carton, in an altered voice.  "Forgive me if I notice that you are affected.  I could not see my father weep, and sit by, careless.  And I could not respect your sorrow more, if you were my father.  You are free from that misfortune, however."

Though he said the last words, with a slip into his usual manner, there was a true feeling and respect both in his tone and in his touch, that Mr. Lorry, who had never seen the better side of him, was wholly unprepared for.

  • Oh, wow.  I hadn't even thought of the suicide-before-execution option.
  • Okay, I know I need to Let This Go, but what is it about Miss Manette that inspires these men????  Sydney just let out a "long, grieving sound, like a sigh--almost like a sob".
  • Jebus.  I can't take this.  I AM getting choked up.  Dickens, you jerk:

It was not a reckless manner, the manner in which he said these words aloud under the fast-sailing clouds, nor was it more expressive of negligence than defiance.  It was the settled manner of a tired man, who had wandered and struggled and got lost, but who at length struck into his road and saw its end.

  • And now, the trial.  The Defarges were two of the people who denounced Darnay... and DOCTOR MANETTE was the third!!  How could that be -- even he himself doesn't know!!  Somehow I think it has something to do with whatever Defarge was looking for a the Bastille...
  • "I defy that bell!"  Ha ha.  Thank goodness for The Vengeance.  She bumped me right out of my Sydney-Carton-induced funk.
  • Jacques Three is a very unattractive character.
  • And Defarge DID find a paper in the cell.  But we will only find out what it says in the next chapter.  (If this had been the end of an installment in the original, I would have wanted to strangle the author.)

Chapter Ten:  The Substance of the Shadow
In which we finally find out why Doctor Manette was imprisoned.

  • And, of course, the verdict is death.  (Because Charles (who was two at the time) must CLEARLY pay for the sins of his father and uncle.)
  • PS.  No, I'm not going to tell you why he was imprisoned.  What do you think this is, Cliff's Notes?  Sheesh.  Read it yourself.

Chapter Eleven:  Dusk
In which Lucie faints like a champ.

  • Gosh.  Lucie hasn't even swooned yet.  She is being Strong for her Man.
  • Doctor Manette tries to kneel and ask forgiveness, but Darnay won't hear of it:

"No, no!  What have you done, what have you done, that you should kneel to us!  We know now, what a struggle you made of old.  We know now, what you underwent when you suspected my descent, and when you knew it.  We know now, the natural antipathy you strove against, and conquered, for her dear sake.  We thank you with all out hearts, and all out love and duty!  Heaven be with you!"

  • The second Darnay leaves the room, of course, Lucie faints all over the place.
  • And then Sydney swoops in and picks her up.  (He's very proud of her.  Blecch.)
  • And, LOOK!  Lucie Junior speaks!:

"Oh, Carton, Carton, dear Carton!" cried little Lucie, springing up and throwing her arms passionately round him, in a burst of grief.  "Now that you have come, I think you will do something to help mamma, something to save papa!  O, look at her, dear Carton!  Can you, of all the people who love her, bear to see her so?"

Straight out of Days.  I swear.

  • Doctor Manette is going to try and get the conviction overturned, but Mr. Lorry and Sydney know that it's a lost cause.  I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE PLANNING, SYDNEY!  DON'T DO IT!!

Chapter Twelve:  Darkness
In which we learn that Madame Defarge is in this for more than her ideals.

  • Sydney very deliberately goes to the wine shop, because "it is best that these people should know there is such a man as I here".  Sob.
  • Madame Defarge notes the uncanny resemblance immediately.
  • Nice:

"It is true what madame says," observed Jacques Three.  "Why stop?  There is great force in that.  Why stop?"

"Well, well," reasoned Defarge, "but one must stop somewhere.  After all, the question is still where?"

"At extermination," said madame.

  • Wait.  So Madame Defarge is literallythe sister of the woman destroyed by the Evremonde brothers?  Not just metaphorically?  So this is personal revenge?  Huh.  I did NOT see that coming.  "Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don't tell me."  That is a FANTASTIC line.
  • Awww, no!  Doctor Manette is looking for his shoemaker's bench again.  My heart just broke a little.
  • Carton just gave his identity papers to Mr. Lorry.  And then made Mr. Lorry swear to follow his instructions -- to secretly get everything and everyone ready to leave Paris, to "wait for nothing but to have my [Carton's] place occupied, and then for England!"  Sob.  Sob sob sob sob sob.
  • This book doesn't, like, secretly have a happy ending, does it?  Because I'd be okay with that.



The Reading Schedule
Book the First, Chapters 1-3
Book the First, Chapters 4-6
Book the Second, Chapters 1-5
Book the Second, Chapters 6-9
Book the Second, Chapters 10-12
Book the Second, Chapters 13-16
Book the Second, Chapters 17-20
Book the Second, Chapters 21-24
Book the Third, Chapters 1-4
Book the Third, Chapters 5-8


Other reader/bloggers:

TadMack @ Finding Wonderland


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