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Book 2, Chapter 9 Notes from A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 9

After Monsieur the Marquis sits down to dinner, his expected guest, his nephew Charles Darnay, arrives. The two sit down to dinner, and Mr. Darnay tells Monsieur that he has returned to France pursuing "the object that took me away." The two get into a cordial discussion with heated undertones about the state of France and their station in it. Mr. Darnay decries the fact that his family lives in riches while the masses are starving, and Monsieur argues that he will die trying to continue the system that keeps the masses in poverty and repression, so long as it means comfort to himself. He tells his nephew, "'Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend, will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof shuts out the sky,'" Book 2, Chapter 9, pg. 119.

Topic Tracking: Oppression/Class Struggle 4

Mr. Darnay insists that his family has done wrong for years, and that they are reaping the fruits of the evils they have committed. He asserts that he wants no part of it, and that he finds the system frightful. He adds that he wants to execute the last request of his dear mother--to redress the wrongs and have mercy on others. His uncle inquires exactly where he plans to live with his new philosophy, and he tells him that he wishes to continue living in England, where he does not have to endure the shame of the family name. He calls England his refuge, and his uncle asks him if he is acquainted with another Frenchman who sought refuge there--a doctor with a daughter. Mr. Darnay replies that he is. The Marquis suddenly bids him good night and trudges off to bed muttering about a doctor with a daughter--he does not explain the reason for his inquiry. He tells his nephew, "'Good-night! I look to the pleasure of seeing you again in the morning. Good repose! Light Monsieur my nephew to his chamber there!'" Book 2, Chapter 9, pg. 122. He then adds to himself, "'And burn Monsieur my nephew in his bed, if you will.'" (Book 2, Chapter 9, pg. 122) He retreats to bed, deep inside the chateau that is flanked out front by a stone wall, with stone lions. As the sun rises, the villagers gather around the fountain in the center of town. Some are armed, and they are whispering amongst each other in low voices. Monsieur Gabelle is hoisted up on horseback, and the road-mender has joined the group. Monsieur gallops away on a horse, behind a servant. The scene is grim and portentous, and a sense of foreboding looms:

"It portended that there was one stone face too many, up at the chateau.
The Gorgon had surveyed the building again in the night, and had added the one stone face wanting; the stone face for which it had waited through about two hundred years.
It lay back on the pillow of Monsieur the Marquis. It was like a fine mask, suddenly startled, made angry, and petrified. Driven home into the heart of the stone figure attached to it, was a knife. Round its hilt was a frill of paper, on which it was scrawled:
'Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from JACQUES.'" Book 2, Chapter 9, pg. 125

Monsieur the Marquis has been assassinated by the villagers.

Topic Tracking: Oppression/Class Struggle 5

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