- Oh, poor Sydney Carton. This chapter begins:
If Sydney Carton ever shone anywhere, he certainly never shone in the house of Doctor Manette.
Judging by the chapter titles, I suspect that what goes on in this chapter will mirror what went on in chapter twelve. But knowing what little I know about Sydney Carton, I anticipate much more drama and much more angst.
- "Don't be afraid to hear me. Don't shrink from anything I say. I am like one who died young*. All my life might have been." Yep. Drama? Check. Angst? Check. What happened in Sydney Carton's life to make him such a disaster? Or is this the way he has always been?
- I'm not really sure what it is about Miss Manette that inspires such depth of feeling:
"Since I knew you, I have been troubled by a remorse that I thought would never reproach me again, and have heard whispers from old voices impelling me upward, that I thought were silent for ever. I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned fight. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it."
She's one of those girls who says, "O", for crying out loud! Then again, so did the damsels in distress in silent films, and they were pretty adorably irresistible...
- And even more from Sydney Carton:
"For you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything. If my career were of that better kind that there was any opportunity or capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you."
I give her credit for not freaking out halfway through the conversation and leaving the room to get away from him -- to have that much unhappy passion directed at you would be more than a little scary.
Chapter Fourteen: The Honest Tradesman
In which we learn a whole lot more about Jerry Cruncher.
- A return to Mr. Jeremiah Cruncher, on his stool outside of Tellson's:
Time was, when a poet sat upon a stool in a public place, and mused in the sight of men. Mr. Cruncher, sitting on a stool in a public place, but not being a poet, mused as little as possible, and looked about him.
- Can't blame Young Jerry for crying "Hooroar!" when he realized that a funeral procession was about to pass by -- it sounds more entertaining than any actual parade I've ever seen, especially with all of the people following it and yelling "Yah! Spies! Tst! Yaha! Spies!". The fact that a good number of the people in the crowd yelling at the mourner have no idea what they're yelling about, well, that just makes it better. (And horrible and a bit scary, yes. I'm not that awful a person.)
- Oh, good lord. Now the crowd wants to pull the mourner (and, I think, the body) out of the coach. And now the mourner has run away and the coffin has been removed and the coach has been packed full (in and out) of people from the crowd -- including Jerry Cruncher!:
Thus, with beer-drinking, pipe-smoking, song-roaring, and infinite caricaturing of woe, the disorderly procession went its way, recruiting at every step, and all the shops shutting up before it. Its destination was the old church of Saint Pancras, far off in the fields. It got there in course of time; insisted on pouring into the burial-ground; finally, accomplished the interment of the deceased Roget Cly in its own way, and highly to its own satisfaction.
- And they still aren't done yet! Now they're "impeaching casual passersby, as Old Bailey spies, and wreaking vengeance on them". And now with the window-breaking, the pub-plundering and so on. Mobs are scary, but Dickens makes the scene (on the surface, if you don't stop to think about the victims) humorous**. And as for what happened to the funeral, again, it was sort of funny on the surface, but that could just have easily been the funeral of Mr. Charles Darnay.
- Why is it that Mr. Cruncher seems sane enough in public, but then when he goes home he acts completely bonkers? Poor Mrs. Cruncher.
- Young Jerry might me the brightest one of the lot:
"I'm a going--as your mother knows--a fishing. That's where I'm going to. Going a fishing."
"Your fishing-rod gets rayther rusty; don't it, father?"
The devoutest person could have rendered no greater homage to the efficacy of an honest prayer than he did in this distrust of his wife. It was as if a professed unbeliever in ghosts should be frightened by a ghost story.
- Oh dear. This is not traditional fishing equipment:
Towards that small and ghostly hour, he rose up from his chair, took a key out of his pocket, opened a locked cupboard, and brought forth a sack, a crowbar of convenient size, a rope and chain, and other fishing tackle of that nature.
- Young Jerry follows and discovers that OH MY GOD JERRY CRUNCHER IS A GRAVEROBBER!! Or, well, a resurrection man. No wonder his hands are always rusty.
Chapter Fifteen: Knitting
In which we hear about the capture of the man who killed the Marquis.
- Back to the Defarge wine-shop. It this THE Jacques??? The writer of the note found on the dead Marquis?? He is a "mender of roads". I know this because he was called a "mender of roads" three times in half a page. So I think that might be important.
Out of the wine-shop into the street, out of the street into a court-yard, out of the court-yard up a steep staircase, out of the staircase into a garret--formerly the garret where a white-haired man sat on a low bench, stooping forward and very busy, making shoes.
No white-haired man was there now; but, the three men were there who had gone out of the wine-whop singly. And between them and the white-haired man afar off, was the one small link, that they had once looked in at him through the chinks in the wall.
I get the distinct feeling that things are really going to start Coming Together. And also Happening.
- Oh, I LOVE IT. They're all called Jacques. FANTASTIC. Of COURSE it's a code name. Why didn't that occur to me before? I'm so dumb.
- And OF COURSE the mender of roads with the tattered blue cap is the same man the Marquis spoke with...
- Jebus. So that's what happened to the man who killed the Marquis. Well, I'm depressed.
- And Madame Defarge's knitting:
"Jacques," returned Defarge, drawing himself up, "if madame my wife undertook to keep the register in her memory alone, she would not lose a word of it--not a syllable of it. Knitted, in her own stitches and her own symbols, it will always be as plain to her as the sun. Confide in Madame Defarge. It would be easier for the weakest poltroon that lives, to erase himself from existence, than to erase one letter of his mane or crimes from the knitted register of Madame Defarge."
Well. She and her knitting are just AWESOME. She's a little scary, too, though. For that matter, it's all a little scary. More than a little.
- This was excellent: "During the whole of the scene, which lasted some three hours, he had plenty of shouting and weeping and sentimental company, and throughout Defarge held him by the collar, as if to restrain him from flying at the objects of his brief devotion and tearing them to pieces."
Chapter Sixteen: Still Knitting
In which a spy is no match for Madame Defarge.
- Madame Defarge is vengeance personified, I think. Knitting will never be quite the same for me.
- Oh, fab:
Their decease made no impression on the other flies out promenading, who looked at them in the coolest manner (as if they themselves were elephants, or something as far removed), until they met the same fate. Curious to consider who heedless flies are!--perhaps they thought as much at Court that sunny summer day.
- A rose in her head-dress as a signal that there is a spy -- I love it.
- Ooo. According to the spy, Miss Manette is to marry Mr. Darnay. And uh oh:
"But it is very strange--now, at least, is it not very strange"--said Defarge, rather pleading with his wife to induce her to admit it, "that, after all our sympathy for Monsieur her father, and herself, her husband's name should be proscribed under your hand at this moment, by the side of that infernal dog's who just left us?"
*A guy in college once said to me (I swear I am not making this up) that he had "lived beyond his years". It was not a line that worked.
**It made me think of Claudius' description of Caligula merrily shoving people into the ocean.