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In Three Books


IN that same juncture of time when the Fifty-
Two awaited their fate, Madame Defarge held
darkly ominous council with The Vengeance and
Jacques Three of the Revolutionary Jury. Not
in the wine-shop did Madame Defarge confer
with these ministers, but in the shed of the
wood-sawyer, erst a mender of roads. The
sawyer himself did not participate in the
conference, but abided at a little distance,
like an outer satellite who was not to speak
until required, or to offer an opinion until

"But our Defarge," said Jacques Three, "is
undoubtedly a good Republican? Eh?"

"There is no better," the voluble Vengeance
protested in her shrill notes, "in France."

"Peace, little Vengeance," said Madame
Defarge, laying her hand with a slight frown on
her lieutenant's lips, "hear me speak. My
husband, fellow-citizen, is a good Republican and a
bold man; he has deserved well of the Republic,
and possesses its confidence. But my husband
has his weaknesses, and he is so weak as to
relent towards this Doctor."

"It is a great pity," croaked Jacques Three,
dubiously shaking his head, with his cruel fingers
at his hungry mouth; "it is not quite like a good
citizen; it is a thing to regret."

"See you," said madame, "I care nothing
for this Doctor, I. He may wear his head or
lose it, for any interest I have in him; it is all
one to me. But, the Evrémonde people are to
be exterminated, and the wife and child must
follow the husband and father."

"She has a fine head for it," croaked Jacques
Three. "I have seen blue eyes and golden hair
there, and they looked charming when Samson
held them up." Ogre that he was, he spoke
like an epicure.

Madame Defarge cast down her eyes, and
reflected a little.

"The child also," observed Jacques Three,
with a meditative enjoyment of his words, "has
golden hair and blue eyes. And we seldom have
a child there. It is a pretty sight!"

"In a word," said Madame Defarge, coming
out of her short abstraction, "I cannot trust
my husband in this matter. Not only do I feel,
since last night, that I dare not confide to him
the details of my projects; but also I feel that
if I delay, there is danger of his giving warning,
and then they might escape."

"That must never be," croaked Jacques
Three; "no one must escape. We have not
half enough as it is. We ought to have six
score a day."

"In a word," Madame Defarge went on,
"my husband has not my reason for pursuing
this family to annihilation, and I have not his
reason for regarding this Doctor with any
sensibility. I must act for myself, therefore. Come
hither, little citizen."

The wood-sawyer, who held her in the
respect, and himself in the submission, of mortal
fear, advanced with his hand to his red

"Touching those signals, little citizen," said
Madame Delarge, sternly, "that she made to
the prisoners; you are ready to bear witness to
them this very day?"

"Ay, ay, why not!" cried the sawyer.
"Every day, in all weathers, from two to four,
always signalling, sometimes with the little one,
sometimes without. I know what I know, I
have seen with my eyes."

He made all manner of gestures while he
spoke, as if in incidental imitation of some few
of the great diversity of signals that he had
never seen.

"Clearly plots," said Jacques Three.

"There is no doubt of the Jury?" inquired
Madame Defarge, letting her eyes turn to him
with a gloomy smile.

"Rely upon the patriotic Jury, dear
citizeness. I answer for my fellow-Jurymen."

"Now, let me see," said Madame Defarge,
pondering again. "Yet once more! Can
I spare this Doctor to my husband? I
have no feeling either way. Can I spare

"He would count as one head," observed
Jacques Three, in a low voice. "We really
have not heads enough; it would be a pity,
I think."

"He was signalling with her when I saw
her," argued Madame Defarge; "I cannot
speak of one without the other; and I must not