We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

  

by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities Volume III, Chapter Twelve – Darkness Summary

  • Sydney wanders through the streets of Paris, contemplating life.
  • He’s trying to work out his plan in his mind. Finally, he decides it will be best if the Defarges know what he looks like.
  • Accordingly, he scouts out the wine shop in Saint Antoine.
  • Once he finds it, he has dinner and takes a nap. At seven, he heads over to the wine shop.
  • Madame Defarge, of course, is sitting at the till.
  • Sydney heads over to the bar and asks for some wine.
  • His French is suddenly really bad.
  • Wait… didn’t he speak almost perfect French a few chapters ago? What’s going on here?
  • Madame Defarge stares at him curiously and asks if he’s English.
  • He says that he is.
  • As she pours out the wine, he overhears her muttering to herself that he looks just like Evrémonde.
  • Defarge enters the shop; he apparently thinks the same thing.
  • He starts when he sees Sydney at the counter, then walks over to confer with his wife.
  • She and Jacques Three are discussing when the revolution will be over.
  • Defarge notes that the violence will have to stop somewhere. The question, of course, is where.
  • Madame Defarge has an answer to that: they’ll stop when all of the aristocrats are exterminated.
  • Defarge doesn’t quite agree. After all, they all saw how Doctor Manette suffered when his son-in-law’s verdict was read.
  • Come to think of it, Madame Defarge is not so sure that Doctor Manette is a true patriot.
  • Defarge continues: Doctor Manette’s daughter, that sweet, innocent girl, was devastated by the trial today.
  • Madame Defarge snaps at her husband. She’s been watching Lucie.
  • In fact, all she has to do is lift her finger... and Lucie’s life would be over.
  • Jacques Three thinks that Madame Defarge is magnificent.
  • Apparently power (of any sort) always attracts followers.
  • Madame Defarge goes on an angry tirade. As she says, she was with Defarge when he found Doctor Manette’s letter.
  • Moreover, she is the younger sister of the woman who was raped and kidnapped.
  • She’ll never stop pursuing her revenge against the Evrémondes.
  • Her listeners are fascinated by the deadly heat of her wrath. Even Defarge stops trying to talk her into being merciful.
  • Sydney Carton listens to all of the conversation, then leaves.
  • It’s almost nine. He meets Mr. Lorry at his office.
  • They wait until midnight, but Doctor Manette still doesn’t return.
  • Finally, he walks into the office.
  • He’s a broken man. He asks immediately where his workbench is: he’s been looking for it all afternoon.
  • Dismayed, Mr. Lorry rushes to help him.
  • Sydney agrees that Doctor Manette should be taken to Lucie. Before he lets them go, though, he tells Mr. Lorry about the conversation he overheard.
  • Lucie and Doctor Manette are no longer safe in Paris.
  • Quickly, Sydney lays out his plans: Mr. Lorry will gather money and traveling papers for the Manettes.
  • He should also arrange for a coach to take them to the border.
  • Sydney hands Mr. Lorry his own traveling papers. He says that Mr. Lorry should only wait until Sydney’s place in the coach is filled.
  • As soon as that happens, the entire family must leave at once.
  • He makes Mr. Lorry promise that they won’t stop for any reason.
  • Once Mr. Lorry promises, Sydney goes out into the night.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...