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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 Two – The Grindstone Summary

  • Tellson’s has set up temporary offices in the abandoned palace of an aristocrat.
  • From this rather inauspicious location, Mr. Lorry has been making lots and lots of financial decisions.
  • Riches have to be preserved (and shipped away), papers have to be saved, even more papers have to be burned…all in all, he’s been a pretty busy guy.
  • Fortunately, Tellson’s seems to be in a safe space for now.
  • Mr. Lorry looks out into the courtyard, where a large grindstone has been set up.
  • The patriots use the courtyard as a space where they re-grind the edges of their weapons.
  • Strangely enough, that makes the building a fairly safe place to be.
  • As Mr. Lorry looks out the window, he receives a violent shock: Lucie and her father are coming in the courtyard door.
  • Quickly, Mr. Lorry opens the door and rushes them inside.
  • Lucie tells him that Charles has come to the city.
  • Immediately, Mr. Lorry realizes what this means. Charles is in trouble.
  • He tries to shield the Manettes from the windows, but the doctor coolly ignores him.
  • Doctor Manette, you see, is something of a hero for the patriots. As a former prisoner of the Bastille, he’s untouchable.
  • In fact, he might even have some leverage in getting Charles out of prison.
  • That’s why he and Lucie had come to Paris.
  • Mr. Lorry actually agrees. He hurries Lucie up to his room, and then he and the doctor look out the window.
  • Patriots are grinding weapons like mad.
  • The entire courtyard has become stained with blood.
  • Sparks fly off the grindstone, making the entire place look something like a hell on earth.
  • Mr. Lorry whispers to the doctor that the patriots have begun murdering prisoners.
  • Doctor Manette sighs and goes out into the crowd.
  • Soon Mr. Lorry hears the crows screaming, "Long live the Bastille prisoner!"
  • He watches as Doctor Manette is carried out into the streets by the mob.
  • Later that night, he and Lucie wait upstairs for Doctor Manette to return.
  • Lucie listens, startled, as the grindstone works through the night.

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