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Book 3, Chapter 12 Notes from A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 3, Chapter 12

Sydney goes out for a walk and eventually ends up at Defarge's wine shop. He asks in French for a small amount of wine. He overhears her say that he looks remarkably like Evrémonde. Monsieur Defarge brings him his wine and bids him good evening, then drinks to the republic. Defarge goes back to the counter and tells his wife that the man looks "a little" like Evrémonde; Madame Defarge says that he looks a great deal like him. The Vengeance agrees, and says merrily that Madame Defarge looks forward with much pleasure to seeing Evrémonde tomorrow.

Carton pretends to read but eavesdrops on the conversation. Defarge remarks that Dr. Manette has suffered a great deal and that his face looked stricken when the verdict was read. Madame Defarge contemptuously replies that she has observed Dr. Manette's face to be a false friend of the Republic. Defarge remarks that Madame Defarge has also seen the anguish of Lucie Manette, which must certainly be dreadful to Dr. Manette. Spitefully, Madame Defarge replies that she has indeed observed Lucie and makes a sinister gesture miming the guillotine. Jacques Three, a member of the Tribunal, declares Madame Defarge "superb." Madame Defarge tells Jacques Three and The Vengeance that she has had "this race" on her register a long time. She tells them she has a secret that she told her husband one night, and that she will now share with them: the shrieking woman described in Dr. Manette's paper was her sister, the mortally wounded boy was her brother, and their father was her father. She asks them to ask Defarge if she tells the truth; he tells them it is so. She replies, "Then tell the Wind and Fire where to stop, but don't tell me." Book 3, Chapter 12, pg. 338 Defarge mumbles weakly, exhorting Madame to remember the kindness of the Marquis' wife, but she only repeats her phrase.

Topic Tracking: Fate 11

Carton, having heard enough, departs. He visits the prison, then returns to Mr. Lorry's quarters, where he finds Mr. Lorry pacing back and forth anxiously. Mr. Lorry reports that no one has seen or heard from Dr. Manette, who has been gone more than five hours. They are discussing where he might be when Dr. Manette suddenly enters the room. They see his face and realize there is no hope. Dr. Manette tells them that he cannot find something and that he must have it. He asks again for his shoemaker's bench and his tools, saying that he must have it and that time is pressing. They do not answer; he begs for them and begins to tear at his hair and stamp his feet on the ground.

Carton tells Mr. Lorry that Dr. Manette must be taken to Lucie but that he has a favor of urgent importance to ask him. He gives Mr. Lorry a paper enabling Dr. Manette, Lucie, and Lucie's daughter to leave the country freely. He tells Mr. Lorry that the papers could be recalled at any moment and that the family must leave the next day, as they are in great danger. He relates what he heard at the wine shop--that Madame Defarge wants to denounce the entire Manette family. He tells Mr. Lorry that he, Mr. Lorry, can save them all by doing one thing: make preparations for the family to leave the country at two p.m. sharp. Mr. Lorry readily agrees. Carton tells him that he will meet them at that time, and the moment he arrives, they must depart immediately. Mr. Lorry asks if he should wait for Carton under all circumstances. Carton says that he has given Mr. Lorry his certificate along with all the others and that they should wait for nothing but his arrival before departing to England. He helps Mr. Lorry take Dr. Manette out, and in the courtyard of Lucie's apartment, he looks up at the light in the window of her room. Before he leaves, he gives it a blessing and a farewell.

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