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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 Eight – A Hand at Cards Summary

  • While Charles is being arrested at home, Miss Pross and Mr. Cruncher are still out shopping for his feast.
  • All of a sudden, Miss Pross sees a man and starts to scream.
  • The man jumps in awkward embarrassment.
  • Miss Pross runs up to him, calling out his name.
  • Soloman, the man, drags her into an alley and tells her to shut up.
  • Mr. Cruncher follows them into the alley. He’s a bit confused.
  • Angry, Soloman wants to know what Miss Pross wants.
  • Miss Pross, teary-eyed, introduces Soloman to Mr. Cruncher as her beloved brother.
  • Of course, our narrator is quick to tell us that Soloman stole Miss Pross’s money and then pretended to be dead... but she doesn’t know that yet.
  • Suddenly, Mr. Cruncher takes an interest in Soloman.
  • As he remembers it, however, Soloman wasn’t his name back in England.
  • In fact, he thinks that Soloman used to be a spy. He was supposed to have died.
  • What was the name Soloman used to use?
  • While Mr. Cruncher thinks, a new voice breaks into the conversation.
  • It’s Sydney. He informs Cruncher that Solomon’s old name was Barsad.
  • Sydney reassures Miss Pross that everything is alright. He showed up a day ago; he’s been to see Mr. Lorry and he’s now trying to be of some help to the Manettes.
  • Now, though, he’s here to see Barsad.
  • Apparently Soloman/Barsad has become a spy in the French prisons.
  • Sydney explains that he’d like to have a conversation with Barsad at Mr. Lorry’s.
  • When Barsad seems inclined to say no, Sydney gently tells him that he has information that could make life pretty sticky for Barsad.
  • That changes Barsad’s mind!
  • Miss Pross, however, is worried. She begs Sydney to protect her brother.
  • Sydney promises.
  • At Mr. Lorry’s, Sydney introduces Barsad.
  • Next, he breaks the bad news to Mr. Lorry: Charles has been arrested again.
  • Not to worry, though: Sydney has a plan.
  • To make the plan work, though, he needs Barsad’s help.
  • As we may have mentioned, Barsad isn’t exactly the helping sort.
  • In fact, he needs quite a bit of convincing.
  • Luckily, however, Sydney has some dirt on Barsad.
  • Barsad has been spying on the prisoners for the French revolutionaries, but he’s also been spying on the French for the English.
  • No one likes a double-crossing spy.
  • Moreover, Sydney knows that Barsad’s friend is passing as a Frenchman—but he’s really an Englishman, Roger Cly.
  • Mr. Cruncher suddenly pays close attention. He wants to know why Roger Cly never got properly buried.
  • In fact, he asks Barsad.
  • Barsad can’t figure out how Cruncher would know this… until Jerry informs them that he tried to dig Roger up. In Roger’s place, however, he found an empty coffin.
  • Barsad knows that Sydney’s managed to beat him in this particular game.
  • Now that he gets the point, Barsad wants to know what Sydney wants from him.
  • As it turns out, Sydney doesn’t want much. Barsad is a keyholder of the prison. He can pass in and out at will, right?
  • Barsad agrees. He’s able to go into the prison whenever he likes.
  • Sydney nods, then asks Barsad to step into the next room so that they can have a word together in private.
  • ... and, unfortunately, we don’t get to read about that particular conversation.