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A TALE OF TWO CITIES.

In Three Books.

BY CHARLES DICKENS.

BOOK THE SECOND. THE GOLDEN THREAD.

CHAPTER XVI. STILL KNITTING.

MADAME DEFARGE and monsieur her husband
returned amicably to the bosom of Saint Antoine,
while a speck in a blue cap toiled through the darkness,
and through the dust, and down the weary
miles of avenue by the wayside, slowly tending
towards that point of the compass where the ch√Ęteau
of Monsieur the Marquis, now in his grave,
listened to the whispering trees. Such ample
leisure had the stone faces, now, for listening to
the trees and to the fountain, that the few
village scarecrows who, in their quest for herbs
to eat and fragments of dead stick to burn,
strayed within sight of the great stone courtyard
and terrace staircase, had it borne in upon
their starved fancy that the expression of the
faces was altered. A rumour just lived in the
villagehad a faint and bare existence there, as its
people hadthat when the knife struck home, the
faces changed, from faces of pride to faces of
anger and pain; also, that when that dangling
figure was hauled up forty feet above the fountain,
they changed again, and bore a cruel look
of being avenged, which they would henceforth
bear for ever. In the stone face over the great
window of the bed-chamber where the murder
was done, two fine dints were pointed out in the
sculptured nose, which everybody recognised,
and which nobody had seen of old; and on the
scarce occasions when two or three ragged
peasants emerged from the crowd to take a hurried
peep at Monsieur the Marquis petrified, a
skinny finger would not have pointed to it for a
minute, before they all started away among the
moss and leaves, like the more fortunate hare
who could find a living there.

Ch√Ęteau and hut, stone face and dangling
figure, the red stain on the stone floor and the
pure water in the village wellthousands of
acres of landa whole province of Franceall
France itselflay under the night sky, concentrated
into a faint hair-breadth line. So does a
whole world with all its greatnesses and littlenesses,
lie in a twinkling star. And as mere
human knowledge can split a ray of light and
analyse the manner of its composition, so,
sublimer intelligences may read in the feeble shining
of this earth of ours, every thought and act,
every vice and virtue, of every responsible creature
on it.

The Defarges, husband and wife, came
lumbering under the starlight, in their public
vehicle, to that gate of Paris whereunto their
journey naturally tended. There was the usual
stoppage at the barrier guard-house, and the
usual lanterns came glancing forth for the usual
examination and inquiry. Monsieur Defarge
alighted: knowing one or two of the soldiery
there, and one of the police. The latter he was
intimate with, and affectionately embraced.

When Saint Antoine had again enfolded the
Defarges in his dusky wings, and they, having
finally alighted near the Saint's boundaries, were
picking their way on foot through the black mud
and offal of his streets, Madame Defarge spoke to
her husband:

"Say then, my friend; what did Jacques of
the police tell thee?"

"Very little to-night, but all he knows.
There is another spy commissioned for our
quarter. There may be many more, for all that
he can say, but he knows of one."

"Eh well!" said Madame Defarge, raising
her eyebrows with a cool business air. "It is
necessary to register him. How do they call that
man?"

"He is English."

"So much the better. His name?"

"Barsad," said Defarge, making it French by
pronunciation. But, he had been so careful to
get it accurately, that he then spelt it with
perfect correctness.

"Barsad," repeated madame. "Good. Christian
name?"

"John."

"John Barsad," repeated madame, after murmuring
it once to herself. "Good. His appearance;
is it known?"

"Age, about forty years; height, about five
feet nine; black hair; complexion dark;
generally, rather handsome visage; eyes dark, face
thin, long, and sallow; nose aquiline, but not
straight, having a peculiar inclination towards
the left cheek; expression, therefore, sinister."

"Eh my faith. It is a portrait!" said
madame, laughing. "He shall be registered
tomorrow."

They turned into the wine-shop, which was
closed (for it was midnight), and where Madame