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Defarge immediately took her post at her desk,
counted the small moneys that had been taken
during her absence, examined the stock, went
through the entries in the book, made other entries
of her own, checked the serving man in every
possible way, and finally dismissed him to bed. Then
she turned out the contents of the bowl of money
for the second time, and began knotting them
up in her handkerchief, in a chain of separate
knots, for safe keeping through the night. All
this while, Defarge, with his pipe in his mouth,
walked up and down, complacently admiring,
but never interfering; in which condition,
indeed, as to the business and his domestic affairs,
he walked up and down through life.

The night was hot, and the shop, close shut
and surrounded by so foul a neighbourhood, was
ill-smelling. Monsieur Defarge's olfactory sense
was by no means delicate, but the stock of wine
smelt much stronger than it ever tasted, and so
did the stock of rum and brandy and aniseed.
He whiffed the compound of scents away, as he
put down his smoked-out pipe.

"You are fatigued," said madame, raising her
glance as she knotted the money. "There are
only the usual odours."

"I am a little tired," her husband acknowledged.

"You are a little depressed, too," said
madame, whose quick eyes had never been so
intent on the accounts, but they had had a ray or
two for him. "Oh, the men, the men!"

"But my dear," began Defarge.

"But my dear!" repeated madame, nodding
firmly: "but my dear! You are faint of heart
to-night, my dear!"

"Well, then," said Defarge, as if a thought
were wrung out of his breast, "it is a long time."

"It is a long time," repeated his wife; "and
when is it not a long time? Vengeance and
retribution require a long time; it is the rule."

"It does not take a long time to strike a man
with Lightning," said Defarge.

"How long," demanded madame, composedly,
"does it take to make and store the lightning?
Tell me?"

Defarge raised his forehead thoughtfully, as if
there were something in that, too.

"It does not take a long time," said madame,
"for an earthquake to swallow a town. Eh
well! Tell me how long it takes to prepare the
earthquake?"

"A long time, I suppose," said Defarge.

"But when it is ready, it takes place, and
grinds to pieces everything before it. In the
mean time, it is always preparing, though it is
not seen or heard. That is your consolation.
Keep it."

She tied a knot with flashing eyes, as if it
throttled a foe.

"I tell thee," said madame, extending her
right hand, for emphasis, "that although it is a
long time on the road, it is on the road and
coming. I tell thee it never retreats, and never
stops. I tell thee it is always advancing. Look
around and consider the lives of all the world
that we know, consider the faces of all the world
that we know, consider the rage and discontent
to which the Jacquerie addresses itself with
more and more of certainty every hour. Can such
things last? Bah! I mock you."

"My brave wife," returned Defarge, standing
before her with his head a little bent, and his
hands clasped at his back, like a docile and
attentive pupil before his catechist, "I do not
question all this. But it has lasted a long time,
and it is possibleyou know well, my wife, it is
possiblethat it may not come, during our
lives."

"Eh well! How then?" demanded madame,
tying another knot, as if there were another
enemy strangled.

"Well!" said Defarge, with a half complaining
and half apologetic shrug. "We shall not
see the triumph."

"We shall have helped it," returned madame,
with her extended hand in strong action.
"Nothing that we do, is done in vain. I believe, with
all my soul, that we shall see the triumph. But
even if not, even if I knew certainly not, show
me the neck of an aristocrat and tyrant, and
still I would——"

There madame, with her teeth set, tied a very
terrible knot indeed.

"Hold!" cried Defarge, reddening a little as
if he felt charged with cowardice; "I too, my
dear, will stop at nothing."

"Yes! But it is your weakness that you
sometimes need to see your victim and your
opportunity, to sustain you. Sustain yourself
without that. When the time comes, let loose
a tiger and a devil; but wait for the time with
the tiger and the devil chainednot shown
yet always ready."

Madame enforced the conclusion of this piece
of advice by striking her little counter with her
chain of money as if she knocked its brains out,
and then gathering the heavy handkerchief under
her arm in a serene manner, and observing that
it was time to go to bed.

Next noontide saw the admirable woman in
her usual place in the wine-shop, knitting away
assiduously. A rose lay beside her, and if she
now and then glanced at the flower, it was with
no infraction of her usual preoccupied air.
There were a few customers, drinking or not
drinking, standing or seated, sprinkled about.
The day was very hot, and heaps of flies,
who were extending their inquisitive and
adventurous perquisitions into all the glutinous
little glasses near madame, fell dead at the
bottom. 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 how heedless flies are!—perhaps they
thought as much at Court that sunny summer
day.

A figure entering at the door threw a shadow
on Madame Defarge which she felt to be a new
one. She laid down her knitting, and began to
pin her rose in her head-dress, before she looked
at the figure.

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