- Lucie and the echoes:
At first, there were times, though she was a perfectly happy young wife, when her work would slowly fall from her hands, and her eyes would be dimmed. For, there was something coming in the echoes, something light, afar off, and scarcely audible yet, that stirred her heart too much. Fluttering hopes and doubts--hopes, of a love as yet unknown to her; doubts, of her remaining upon earth, to enjoy that new delight--divided her breast. Among the echoes then, there would arise the sound of footsteps at her own early grave; and thoughts of the husband who would be left so desolate, and who would mourn for her so much, swelled to her eyes, and broke like waves.
*Whispering*: Is this about pregnancy and childbirth? I'm feeling really dumb right now. Okaythanksbye.
- Oh, hey -- I was right. Because now there's a mini-Lucie.
- Another child, this time a boy. He dies. His death-bed utterance ("Dear papa and mamma, I am very sorry to leave you both, and to leave my pretty sister; but I am called, and I must go!") made me feel that I must be a heartless hag, because it made me throw up a little in my mouth.
- Sydney Carton still visits occasionally, and seems to have mellowed, at least outwardly. Lucie Jr. adores him. (As did the apparently unnamed little boy, who also said on his deathbed, "Poor Carton! Kiss him for me!")
- Mr. Stryver continues to be horrible. He is now married, with three stepsons, and, "exuding patronage of the most offensive quality from every pore", offered them up as pupils to Darnay. And he tells everyone who will listen that Lucie tried to "catch" him. YUCK!!
- And so now, Lucie Jr. is six years old and it is July 1789. (Dickens spelled it out, of course.)
- Mr. Lorry continues to be my favorite:
"I know that, to be sure," assented Mr. Lorry, trying to persuade himself that his sweet temper was soured, and that he grumbled, "but I am determined to be peevish after my long day's botheration."
- Switch to Saint Antoine, and I found myself completely riveted (I actually didn't take any notes from here on in, so I apologize for the rest of my write-up being sketchy.):
Who gave them out, whence they last came, where they began, through what agency they crookedly quivered and jerked, scores at a time, over the heads of the crowd, like a kind of lightning, no eye in the throng could have told; but, muskets were being distributed--so were cartridges, powder and ball, bars of iron and wood, knives, axes, pikes, every weapon that distracted ingenuity could discover or devise. People who could lay hold of nothing else, set themselves with bleeding hands to force stones and bricks out of their places in walls. Every pulse and heart in Saint Antoine was on high-fever strain and at high fever heat. Every living creature there held life as of no account, and was demented with a passionate readiness to sacrifice it.
PHEW. At the wine-shop, Defarge is giving out weapons and orders, and Madame Defarge has put down her knitting:
Madame's resolute right hand was occupied with an axe, in place of the usual soft implements, and in her girdle were a pistol and a cruel knife.
This whole section, the storming of the Bastille, kept me completely entranced (even though we had company over (Jane calls him 'The Loud Man' -- yes, our dog talks)) not just because of the action, but also because of the rhythm. I felt like my pulse changed pace, even. Basically, it was awesome. This morning:
Me: So they stormed the hell out of the Bastille last night.
Josh: Uh huh.
Me: And THEN, they caught the governor of the Bastille and Madame Defarge put her foot on his neck and CHOPPED OFF HIS HEAD. And she DIDN'T EVEN USE HER AXE. She, like, SAWED HIS HEAD OFF WITH HER KNIFE. Is it wrong that I think she's kind of awesome?
Josh: (looking as nervous as he can without his morning coffee) Jesus.
- So what were they looking for in Doctor Manette's cell, anyway?
Chapter Twenty-Two: The Sea Still Rises
In which this says it all: "The men were terrible, in the bloody-minded anger with which they looked from windows, caught up what arms they had, and came pouring down into the streets; but, the women were a sight to chill the boldest."
- Yep. It's all about the ladies:
Instantly Madame Defarge's knife was in her girdle; the drum was beating in the streets, as if it and a drummer had flown together by magic; and The Vengeance, uttering terrific shrieks, and flinging her arms about her head like all the forty Furies at once, was tearing from house to house, rousing the women.
What would Miss Manette have been like if she hadn't been brought up in England? And Miss Pross?
- Yow. Foulon's death was especially brutal. AND LONG.
- I love that Saint Antoine is anthropomorphized -- that rather than saying that the people of Saint Antoine blah blah blah, he says:
Nor was this the end of the day's bad work, for Saint Antoine so shouted and danced his angry blood up, that it boiled again, on hearing when the day closed in that the son-in-law of the despatched, another of the people's enemies and insulters, was coming into Paris under a guard five hundred strong, in cavalry alone. Saint Antoine wrote his crimes on flaring sheets of paper, seized him--would have torn him out of the breast of an army to bear Foulon company--set his head and heart on pikes, and carried the three spoils of the day, in Wolf-procession through the streets.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Fire Rises
In which the dead Marquis' chateau (which I assume technically belongs to Mr. Darnay now, yes?) is torched.
- Unrest in the ranks:
The prison on the crag was not so dominant as of yore; there were soldiers to guard it, but not many; there were officers to guard the soldiers, but not one of them knew what his men would do--beyond this: that it would probably not be what he was ordered.
- This was good:
The tocsin rang impatiently, but other help (if there were any) there was none. The mender of roads, and two hundred and fifty particular friends, stood with folded arms at the fountain, looking a the pillar of fire in the sky. "It must be forty feet high," said they, grimly; and never moved.
- I did feel bad for Monsieur Gabelle hiding up on his roof -- I like him, maybe because of this:
The result of that conference was, that Gabelle again withdrew himself to his housetop behind his stack of chimneys; this time resolved, if his door were broken in (he was a small Southern man of retaliative temperament), to pitch himself head foremost over the parapet, and crush a man or two below.
Why would something like that make me like someone? I'm a horrible person.
Chapter Twenty-Four: Drawn to the Loadstone Rock
In which Mr. Stryver is a complete jerk (shocking!) and Mr. Darnay receives a letter.
- So now Darnay is off to France to save Gabelle. Yeah, that France. The country where he's a dead man. (Which, yeah, might be something that he's not fully aware of, but whatever.) WITHOUT TELLING HIS WIFE, DAUGHTER AND/OR FATHER-IN-LAW. Because, you know, he wants to "spare the pain of separation". Well, how much more painful will it be for them if you get killed over there? Huh? Huh? Jerk. I told Josh that if he ever did something like that, I'd stomp right over to France and strangle him myself. ARRRRRRRG!!!
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