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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

  

by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities Volume III, Chapter Fourteen – The Knitting Done Summary

  • Back at the wine shop, Madame Defarge is holding a council—without her husband.
  • She’s decided that he’s too soft.
  • He doesn’t understand what it takes for a revolution to succeed.
  • The Vengeance and Jacques Three, bloodthirsty as ever, agree.
  • Madame Defarge admits that she cares nothing about Doctor Manette. He can live or die… she doesn’t mind either way.
  • Lucie and her child, however, must be exterminated.
  • All of the Evrémonde race must die.
  • Jacques Three thinks gleefully about how pretty Lucie’s golden hair will look at the base of La Guillotine.
  • Madame Defarge swears her two companions to secrecy. Her husband can’t know about their plans.
  • Now Madame Defarge calls over the wood-sawyer and makes him promise that he’ll testify that Lucie was exchanging traitorous signals with the prisoner Evrémonde.
  • Happy to help the revolution, the guy agrees.
  • We’re sensing that this isn’t exactly the best display of justice in action.
  • Perhaps that’s what Dickens intended us to think.
  • At any rate, Madame Defarge is pretty happy with the way that things are shaping up.
  • Confident that Lucie will be pretty angry at the Republic right now (after all, her husband’s being executed), Madame Defarge decides to pay her a visit.
  • Perhaps she can get Lucie to say something that will damn her whole family to death.
  • The Vengeance can’t get enough of how marvelous Madame Defarge’s plans and revolutionary fervor are.
  • Madame Defarge stalks through the streets.
  • She’s a cold, cold woman.
  • She cares nothing about love—only about vengeance. Sort of like her friend, The Vengeance.
  • As she walks toward the Manette household, Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher are well on their way toward leaving it forever.
  • They’ve been left behind to pack all the Manettes’s things.
  • They’re almost ready to leave. Miss Pross sends Jerry out to get the carriage.
  • She plans to meet him by the cathedral door.
  • That way, they won’t excite any suspicions about the family leaving.
  • Frantic to keep her darlings safe, Miss Pross sends Jerry on his way.
  • Once she’s left alone, Miss Pross washes her face. She hasn’t slept all night.
  • Opening her eyes, she sees a figure standing in the doorway.
  • It’s Madame Defarge.
  • She demands to know where the wife of Evrémonde is at the moment.
  • Miss Pross, of course, doesn’t speak any French.
  • She has a pretty good hunch that Madame Defarge is asking for her darlings, however.
  • And she’s determined not to give that evil Frenchwoman any hints about where her darlings have gone.
  • Quickly, Miss Pross slams all the doors in the room shut.
  • If Madame Defarge looked through them, she’d see the havoc of a family that left their house quickly.
  • Miss Pross and Madame Defarge say some nasty things to each other. Neither can understand the other, but they seem to communicate pretty well just the same.
  • At the very least, they each hate the other.
  • Madame Defarge throws open all the doors in the house but one: Miss Pross guards the last door herself.
  • Realizing that Miss Pross isn’t planning to move anytime soon, Madame Defarge lunges at the door.
  • Miss Pross grabs Madame Defarge around the waist and hangs on for dear life.
  • They claw at each other; Madame Defarge lunges for the keys at Miss Pross’s waist.
  • All of a sudden, Miss Pross sees Madame Defarge draw something out of her dress.
  • She grasps Madame Defarge’s hand.
  • A loud blast goes off.
  • As the smoke clears, she sees Madame Defarge lying on the ground.
  • She’s dead.
  • Miss Pross collects her things, puts on her bonnet, and rushes to the cathedral.
  • Jerry’s waiting for her.
  • He calls out to her, but she can’t hear him.
  • In fact, she never hears anything again.

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