Study Guide

A Tale of Two Cities Volume II, Chapter Twenty-Two – The Sea Still Rises

By Charles Dickens

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Volume II, Chapter Twenty-Two – The Sea Still Rises

  • A week after the Storming of the Bastille, Madame Defarge sits at the counter of her shop.
  • Another woman, the short, plump wife of the grocer, sits with her.
  • In the past week, this woman has taken on a new name: she’s now called "The Vengeance." We’re guessing it’s not because she’s all that friendly.
  • Defarge enters the shop.
  • Immediately, everyone quiets down to hear what he has to say.
  • Luckily, he actually does have something to say: Foulon, an old aristocrat who once told the peasants that they could eat grass, has been imprisoned.
  • He’s on his way to Paris now, escorted by a revolutionary guard.
  • Defarge pauses, then asks if the "patriots" are ready for action.
  • Madame Defarge grabs her knife. The Vengeance begins to shriek.
  • They run to different houses in the area with the news.
  • Soon an entire crowd has gathered outside the house where Foulon has been taken.
  • Madame Defarge rushes into the house to see the old man bound up in ropes.
  • She begins to clap as if she’s just seen a great play.
  • Defarge rushes up to Foulon and "folds him in a deadly embrace."
  • We’re guessing that means he kills the guy.
  • Madame Defarge tries to strangle him with his ropes.
  • The Vengeance and Jacques Three drag the body out into the streets.
  • Hoards of people scream at the sight. They begin to stuff the dead man’s pockets with grass.
  • Poetic justice, eh?
  • Once his head and heart are set on pikes, however, the crowd begins to disperse.
  • After all, they’re still poor and miserable.
  • They all head to the bread lines to beg for some loaves of bread.
  • As Monsieur Defarge returns to his wine-shop, he remarks to his wife that the revolution seems to have come at last.

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