Study Guide

A Tale of Two Cities Volume III, Chapter Three – The Shadow

By Charles Dickens

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Volume III, Chapter Three – The Shadow

  • It’s now noon of the next day. The doctor still hasn’t returned.
  • Mr. Lorry wants to be worried about the Manettes, but bank business must come first.
  • At the moment, bank business also involves making sure that Lucie and her child aren’t hanging out in the bank.
  • If worse comes to worst, their presence could make trouble for Tellson’s.
  • We can’t fault the guy’s reasoning. It’s a bit strange, maybe, but it’s probably accurate.
  • Accordingly, Mr. Lorry moves Lucie, her child, and Miss Pross into his own rooms.
  • Back at Tellson’s, he waits anxiously for the end of the day.
  • Right as the business day is about to end, a man shows up at the door. He’s accompanied by two women, one of whom is knitting.
  • He waits for Mr. Lorry to recognize him.
  • Mr. Lorry doesn’t.
  • The man prompts Mr. Lorry a bit: they last saw each other at the wine-shop he runs.
  • That’s right, folks, it’s Defarge.
  • Wait, didn’t he say that he wouldn’t help Darnay?
  • Well, yes. But this is different. He comes with a letter from Dr. Manette to Mr. Lorry, asking Mr. Lorry to let Defarge see Lucie.
  • In Lucie’s room, Defarge hands over a letter from Darnay.
  • It’s short, but it lets them all know that he’s still okay.
  • Overwhelmed, Lucie reaches up and kisses Madame Defarge’s hand.
  • The hand doesn’t stop knitting.
  • Madame Defarge is a real piece of work.
  • Lucie looks up at her, terrified. Something just doesn’t seem right...
  • Mr. Lorry quickly explains that Madame Defarge likes to look at those whom she may be able to help in times of crisis.
  • Calling in Miss Pross and little Lucie so that Madame Defarge can see them, too, Mr. Lorry asks for her help in the future.
  • Lucie pleads for mercy for her husband.
  • Madame Defarge ignores this cry. She says that she’s here for the daughter of Dr. Manette (and not the wife of Evrémonde).
  • Frantic, Lucie asks her to protect her husband because he’s the doctor’s son-in-law.
  • She begs for pity as a wife and a mother.
  • Madame Defarge stares at her coldly and says that the wives and mothers of France have been suffering for a very long time.
  • She leaves without ever promising to help.

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