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Book 2, Chapter 14 Notes from A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 14

One day, when Jerry Cruncher and his son are sitting at Tellson's, they see a very noisy and raucous funeral procession passing by, and a crowd has gathered around it. Members of the crowd are shouting "Spies!" and "Old Bailey spy. Yaha! Tst! Yah!" Jerry asks who it is, and someone tells him it is Roger Cly--Darnay's former servant who testified against him at his trial. The crowd attacks the hearse, and the lone mourner inside flees the carriage, ripping off his traditional mourning vestments as he goes. The crowd eagerly rips these to shreds, all the while continuing their shouts. Members of the crowd, now including Jerry Cruncher, fling themselves into and on top of the carriage. The carriage proceeds to the old church of Saint Pancras, to its burial ground.

There, they bury Mr. Cly in a manner much to their satisfaction. Now bored, the crowd begins to harass passersby, declaring each one an Old Bailey spy. Soon, the rowdy crowd moves on to looting. Jerry Cruncher does not participate, however, choosing instead to remain in the churchyard, smoking a pipe. Later, he returns to Tellson's and waits until the clerks file out before returning home with his son.

Upon entering, he excoriates his wife and blames her praying on his recent hard luck and decline in pay at work. He continues his ranting and raving, telling her not to ever pray again. He tells her he is going fishing that night. When his wife and child are in bed, he gets up, takes a key out of his pocket, and unlocks a cupboard, from which he takes a sack, a crowbar, a rope and a chain, "and other fishing tackle of that nature." He leaves, extinguishing the light behind him. Unbeknownst to him, his son follows him.

Jerry walks awhile and is eventually joined by two other "fishermen." They stop at an iron gate, which they scale. Young Jerry approaches the gate, holding his breath; he sees that the men are in a graveyard; they get to a grave and begin "fishing" with their spades and shovels. Young Jerry is so frightened that he leaves, but he returns before long out of a strong desire to know what his father is up to. He sees the men lifting a coffin out of the grave, and he sees that his father is trying to wrench it open. He flees in terror, feeling that the coffin is following him home. He jumps into bed and can hardly sleep.

When he finally does fall asleep, he awakens not much later to hear his father in the family room; he sees him grabbing Mrs. Cruncher by the ears and slamming her head into the headboard of the bed. The elder Jerry says, "I told you I would", and he rants at her again, telling her that when she opposes him and the partners of his business, others suffer. She tells him she is only trying to be a good wife, and says dishonoring her husband's business and defying him where that business is concerned is not being a good wife.

Later that morning, when Jerry and his son are walking to Tellson's, Young Jerry asks his father what a Resurrection Man is. His father says he doesn't know; then he says that it is a tradesman. Young Jerry asks what a Resurrection Man's goods are, and if they are bodies. The father says he believes it is something of that nature. Young Jerry tells his father, beaming, that he would like to be a Resurrection Man when he grows up. The elder Jerry thinks to himself that perhaps one day the boy will be a blessing to him and will make up for his mother.

Topic Tracking: Resurrection 6

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