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Book 3, Chapter 8 Notes from A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 3, Chapter 8

Miss Pross and Jerry, unaware of the events taking place at home, are stopped at a wine shop when Miss Pross is shocked to see her long-lost brother, Solomon. He tells her not to call him by that name; she calls him brother and chastises him for speaking so sternly to her. Jerry stares at the man and doesn't say a word. The man takes them out and asks her what she wants; she begins to cry and calls him cruel for greeting her in such a way. He tells her he is an official and that if she doesn't want to put him in danger, she must leave him alone. Jerry then touches the man on the shoulder and asks him if his name is John Solomon or Solomon John. The man asks him what he means; Jerry says he can't remember what the man called himself back in England. Jerry says he knew the man's name had two syllables and that he knows who he is, as the man was once a spy witness at the Bailey.

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He repeats again that he cannot remember what the man called himself in England. "Barsad," chimes in another man. Jerry exclaims that that is indeed the name. The speaker who uttered it is Sydney Carton; he tells Miss Pross not to be alarmed, that he arrived yesterday and visited with Mr. Lorry, with whom it was agreed that Carton should not present himself until he could make himself useful. He adds that he wishes she had a better-employed brother than Barsad, whom he calls a sheep of the prisons (a slang word meaning spy). He asks Barsad if he will accompany him to Tellson's to speak about a private matter. Barsad asks if he is threatening him; Carton says no. The spy turns to his sister and tells her that if anything negative comes of it, it will be her doing. But he agrees to go.

He brings Barsad to Mr. Lorry's at Tellson's; Mr. Lorry remarks that he has an association with the name and the face. He tells Mr. Lorry that Barsad is Miss Pross' brother and that Charles has been arrested again. Mr. Lorry is shocked and dismayed. Carton admits he is shaken by Dr. Manette's inability to prevent the arrest, and Mr. Lorry solemnly agrees. Carton remarks that he wants to play a game; the stake he is playing for is his friend in the Conciergerie. The spy coolly tells him he will need to have good cards. He remarks that he knows that Barsad is a spy and that he represents himself to his employers under a false name, and that this is a very good card to have. He tells Barsad to look over his hand. Barsad appeals to Mr. Lorry; Carton replies that he will play his ace shortly. Barsad asks Carton if he would not feel guilty by causing his friend, Miss Pross, to lose a brother; Carton coolly replies that he believes it would be a favor to her. He is so unflappable as to be intimidating to Barsad. Carton replies that he has yet another card; he mentions the friend and fellow spy who also testified against Darnay in England--Roger Cly. Barsad replies that Cly is dead and has been for several years. Mr. Lorry looks at Jerry Cruncher and notices that his hair is standing on end. Jerry asks Barsad if he put Cly in his coffin; Barsad replies yes. Then Jerry asks him who took him out. Barsad is stunned and asks what he means. Jerry declares that Cly was never in his grave and exclaims that he'll have his own head taken off if Cly was ever in it. Carton remarks that this is indeed a strong card, that he knows Barsad is in cahoots with another English aristocrat and spy who has feigned his own death. Barsad admits defeat and adds that he only got out of England at the risk of being killed and that Cly never would have gotten out if he hadn't feigned his own death. He turns to Carton and tells him that he must return soon to the prison and that if Carton has a proposal for him, he needs to hear it soon. Carton asks Barsad if he is a turnkey at the Conciergerie. Barsad replies that there is no possible way a prisoner could escape. Carton repeats his question and asks if the man can come and go from the Conciergerie as he pleases; the man replies that he is sometimes and that he can pass in and out when he chooses. He tells the man he now wants to speak with him privately.

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