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Book 2, Chapter 3 Notes from A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 3

The attorney general opens the session with remarks condemning the young man as a traitor against England. He reiterates the accusations against him and declares that he will produce two unimpeachable witnesses, including the defendant's own servant, to testify against the defendant. After finishing his oration, he calls the first witness, John Barsad, to the stand. Mr. Barsad recalls the attorney general's story almost verbatim, then receives questions from the defense. The defense attorney questions Mr. Barsad's character. Mr. Barsad admits he has been in a debtor's prison and admits he has been kicked for cheating at dice. However, he claims he did not cheat, and that he owes the prisoner money, but that he has seen him with lists of names of English soldiers (that the defendant planned to give to hostile forces).

Having chinked away at this witnesses' credibility, the defense next questions Roger Cly, Mr. Darnay's former servant. Mr. Cly testifies that he volunteered to work as a servant for Mr. Darnay strictly out of charity but that he became suspicious of him soon after, especially after seeing him present lists of names to French gentlemen. He admits under questioning that he had once stolen a mustard pot from his master, but that it only turned out to be a plated one (he denied ever having been suspected of stealing a silver tea pot).

Next, the attorney general calls Mr. Lorry to the stand. He asks him if he had had occasion to travel with the Dover mail some five years ago, and Mr. Lorry states that he did. He asks him if one of the men traveling with him was the prisoner, and Mr. Lorry replies that he cannot say, as the travelers were bundled up, and it was dark. Mr. Lorry testifies that he has seen the prisoner before, though; he says that when he was returning from France on that same trip, the prisoner came on board the ship sometime around midnight, and that he was the only person who boarded the ship at that time. He testifies that he, Mr. Lorry, was traveling with two other passengers, a gentleman and a lady, and that he did not converse with the prisoner, as he was tired.

The attorney general then calls Miss Manette to the stand. The attorney asks her if she has ever seen him before, and she replies that she has. Over the course of questioning, Miss Manette reveals that she conversed at length with the prisoner, and that he helped her father, who was in a state of weak health, and that he was exceedingly kind to them. She also reveals that he had come on board with two French gentlemen, and that they had conferred together until the Frenchmen had to board their boat, and that the men were passing around sheets of paper and conversing, and that they stood whispering about the papers. She then exclaims with distress that she hopes her testimony will not do the man harm. She adds that the prisoner told her he was traveling on business of a very delicate nature, and that the business could get people into trouble, and so he was traveling under an assumed name. She adds that he told her the business might take him at intervals between England and France for long periods to come. The attorney asks her if the man said anything about America, and she replies that the prisoner told her how the quarrel came about, and that it was a wrong and foolish one on England's part as far as he could determine. He added jokingly that George Washington might gain as great a name in history as George the Third. She insists, however, that he meant this only as a joke.

Next, the attorney calls Dr. Manette to the stand and asks him if he has seen the prisoner before. He says that he has, when the man was called to his lodgings in London. The attorney then asks if he can identify him as the man who was aboard the ship in France, and Dr. Manette replies that he can do neither, as he had just been released from prison at the time and had lost some of his memory.

Next, the attorney general calls a witness to attempt to prove that the prisoner had traveled with the Dover mail, then exited the group and traveled somewhere else to gather information. A witness is called to state that the prisoner had been spotted at a particular locale at a particular time (a fact that would lend credence to the prosecution's argument that the prisoner was indeed collecting information). The defense cross-examines the witness with little result, except to establish that the witness has never seen the prisoner on any other occasion. Just then, the counsel asks the witness if he is certain that the man he saw is the prisoner, and that he could not possibly have seen someone else instead. The witness replies that he is certain he saw the prisoner and no one else. The attorney then points to another man in the courtroom and asks the man to remove his wig. When the man removes it, the courtroom gasps, as he bears a surprising resemblance to the prisoner. The result is surprising enough to weaken the witness' testimony.

Topic Tracking: Fate 1

After closing arguments, the jury convenes for deliberation. Mr. Darnay tells Sydney Carton, the wigged gentleman who resembles him (and who is an attorney working for the defense), to tell Miss Manette that he is deeply sorry to have been the cause of her agitation. After awhile, it is announced that a verdict has been reached, and Mr. Lorry hands Jerry a scrap of paper with the verdict written on it. He tells him to get it to Tellson's immediately. When Jerry looks at the paper, he sees the word "ACQUITTED." Jerry mutters to himself that if Mr. Lorry had asked him to deliver the message "Recalled to life" again, it would have made sense this time.

Topic Tracking: Resurrection 4

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