- Oh, this is going nowhere good:
Every town-gate and village taxing-house had its band of citizen patriots, with their national muskets in a most explosive state of readiness, who stopped all comers and goers, cross-questioned them, inspected their papers, looked for their names in lists of their own, turned them back, or sent them on, or stopped them and laid them in hold, as their capricious judgment or fancy deemed best for the dawning Republic One and indivisible, of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.
- And Darnay has finally realized that it is going nowhere good:
The universal watchfulness so encompassed him, that if he had been taken in a net, or were being forwarded to his destination in a cage, he would not have felt his freedom more completely gone.
- "And he was, therefore, as little surprised as a man could be, to find himself awakened at the small inn to which he had been remitted until morning, in the middle of the night." The red-caps were startlingly similar in attitude to the Marquis all those chapters back, and a few paragraphs down, it would be easy enough to substitute 'escorted' with 'prisoner'. The people are still desperately poor, with the escorts twisting "straw round their bare legs, and thatched their ragged shoulders to keep the wet off".
- Still, after all this, Charles Darnay expects the people in charge at the Abbaye to be reasonable.
- Then, in Beauvais:
"Everybody says it [the decree] is but one of several, and that there will be others--if there are not already--banishing all emigrants, and condemning all to death who return. That is what he meant when he said your life was not your own."
"But there are no such decrees yet?"
"What do I know!" said the postmaster, shrugging his shoulders; "there may be, or there will be. It is all the same. What would you have?"
- So it came as no surprise (to me, anyway) when Darnay arrived at the Paris gates and is taken prisoner. Defarge is there when it happens, and to be honest, I felt worse for him than for Darnay. Maybe because I've always been more invested in him than in Darnay, and also maybe because he's clearly had reservations about the black-and-whiteness of it all.
- I felt like Dickens was speaking directly to me here, defending Darnay:
That he had fallen among far greater dangers than those which had developed themselves when he left England, he of course knew now. That perils had thickened about him fast, and might thicken faster and faster yet, he of course knew now. He could not but admit to himself that he might not have made this journey, if he could have foreseen the events of a few days. And yet his misgivings were not so dark as, imagined by the light of this later time, they would appear. Troubled as the future was, it was the unknown future, and in its obscurity there was ignorant hope. The horrible massacre, days and nights long, which, within a few rounds of the clock, was to set a great mark of blood upon the blessed garnering time of harvest, was as far out of his knowledge as if it had been a hundred thousand years away. The "sharp female newly-born, and called La Guillotine," was hardly known to him, or to the generality of people, by name. The frightful deeds that were to be soon done, were probably unimagined at that time in the brains of the doers. How could they have a place in the shadowy conceptions of a gentle mind?
And now I feel all guilty for being so hard on him.
- What does "In Secret" mean? That they will not tell anyone that Darnay has been imprisoned?
- I liked this:
So strangely clouded were these refinements by the prison manners and gloom, so spectral did they become in the inappropriate squalor and misery through which they were seen, that Charles Darnay seemed to stand in company of the dead. Ghosts all! The ghost of beauty, the ghost of stateliness, the ghost of elegance, the ghost of pride, the ghost of frivolity, the ghost of wit, the ghost of youth, the ghost of age, all waiting their dismissal from the desolate shore, all turning on him eyes that were changed by the death they had died in coming there.
- Uh oh. Darnay has been in prison for point-five seconds and he's already starting to go bananas.
Chapter Two: The Grindstone
In which it occurred to me that Dickens could have easily written vampire novels.
- I was becoming concerned that Dickens would drop the humor altogether in this third book -- but the comparison of London Tellson's to Paris Tellson's reassured me. I loved that they "whitewashed the Cupid, but he was still to be seen on the ceiling, in the coolest linen, aiming (as he very often does) at money from morning to night".
- WAIT. WHAT??? Now Lucie and Doctor Manette are in Paris??
- Ah, and of course Doctor Manette's history would be helpful, what with the Bastille imprisonment and all.
- "I will be submissive to you." Because Lucie has ever been anything but?
- Wow. The grindstone scene is seriously scary.
- And now Doctor Manette is asking for help from the grindstone people, and they sound eager to give it.
- THEY BROUGHT THE KID TO PARIS, TOO??? Wouldn't it have, I don't know, made more sense to leave her home with Miss Pross or something?
- Morning has come, with no sign of Doctor Manette.
Chapter Three: The Shadow
In which Madame Defarge is SCARY SCARY SCARY SCARY SCARY.
- Hmmm. Defarge is acting weird and now that he, Madame Defarge (who is knitting, which is ominous) and The Vengeance are going to see Lucie with Mr. Lorry... I'm getting concerned. As Lucie is married to Darnay, won't she suddenly be seen as an Enemy, too? At least Jerry is there.
It was a passionate, loving, thankful, womanly action, but the hand made no response--dropped cold and heavy, and took to its knitting again.
There was something in its touch that gave Lucie a check. She stopped in the act of putting the note in her bosom, and with her hands yet at her neck, looked terrified at Madame Defarge. Madame Defarge met the lifted eyebrows and forehead with a cold, impassive stare.
- Oh, man. And it looks like Lucie, Jr. is the one who is the most danger. WHY DID THEY BRING HER?
- This is ridiculous, but: You know Celia's buddy on Weeds? (I think her name is Pam...) That's who I keep picturing as The Vengeance. I don't know why.
Chapter Four: Calm in Storm
In which over a year passes, and Darnay remains in prison.
- Phew. Eleven hundred killed in four days.
- "For the first time the Doctor felt, now, that his suffering was strength and power."
- I've been trying to figure out why it is that Darnay and Lucie continue to leave me cold, while I have strong feelings about pretty much every other character in the book. I think it's because they don't seem at all like actual people, but instead, symbols. Or something.
- PS. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO GABELLE?
The Reading Schedule
Book the First, Chapters 1-3
Book the First, Chapters 4-6
Book the Second, Chapters 1-5
Book the Second, Chapters 6-9
Book the Second, Chapters 10-12
Book the Second, Chapters 13-16
Book the Second, Chapters 17-20
Book the Second, Chapters 21-24