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A Tale of Two Cities: Novel Summary: Book III Chapter 6-11

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Book III
Chapter 6-11

Charles Darnay is called to appear before the dreaded Tribunal of five judges. On the day that he appears all fifteen prisoners who go before him are sentenced to death. He notices that Madame and Monsieur Defarge are in the audience but they do not look at him. Doctor Manette and Mr. Lorry are also in attendance. Following Dr. Manette's instructions, Charles carefully answers all the Tribunal's accusations and offers as witnesses to his good character the author of the letter, Gabelle, as well as Doctor Manette. The attending crowd, initially bent on taking Charles' life, are converted to his cause following Manette's testimony and Charles is declared free. The crowd is overjoyed and carries the somewhat stunned Darnay to his family's apartment where Lucie collapses in her husband's arms. Lucie and Charles offer thanks to the Doctor who admonishes his daughter not to tremble for fear because he has saved him and now he is safe.

Doctor Manette is a changed man now that he has saved his son-in-law from execution. He is confident and assured. The next afternoon before Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher leave to run errands, Miss Pross announces her fidelity to the English king and asks if they will be returning to England soon. Doctor Manette responds that it would be dangerous for Charles to try and leave so soon after his acquittal. Disappointed but resolute, Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher leave to visit many shops to make small purchases so that the household will not be perceived as ostentatious. While they are gone four men in red caps arrive to re-arrest "The Citizen Evremonde, called Darnay." When the Doctor demands to know the reason he is told that his son-in-law has been denounced by the Defarge's and one other of the Saint Antoine district to be named the next day at the trial.

Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher enter a wine shop and while their amount is being measured Miss Pross recognizes one of the departing customers as her long-lost brother Solomon and she screams aloud in surprise. Mr. Cruncher is also very surprised and looks at the man as if he has seen a ghost. Solomon rudely beseeches his sister to keep her mouth shut unless she wants to see him killed and the trio retires to the street where he bluntly asks what she wants with him. Miss Pross is stunned by her brother's rude behavior. He admits that he knew she was in the city and has been avoiding her. He is afraid she will give away his true identity to the bloodthirsty revolutionaries with whom he serves as a prison official. Miss Pross begs only a kind word from her brother before he departs but Jerry Cruncher asks the man what other names he has used. As Cruncher struggles to remember the man's alias, Sydney Carton steps up and announces that Solomon is none other than John Barsad, spy and witness at Charles Darnay's first trial in England many years ago. Carton explains that he arrived the previous evening and presented himself to Mr. Lorry but that he chose for his presence to remain unknown until he could be useful. Much to John Barsad's consternation he further explains that Miss Pross' brother is a "sheep", or spy, under the goalers at the prison. Carton compels Barsad to accompany him to Tellson's bank where he relates to Mr. Lorry that Charles Darnay has been rearrested. Using the analogy of a card game, Sydney Carton proceeds to explain why it is in Barsad's best interest, lest his identity be betrayed, to be Carton's friend and help him with a special favor. Over the course of the conversation Carton alludes to Barsad's prior co-conspirator, Roger Cly who he believes is in France as well, but Barsad insists that Cly is dead and offers to produce a death certificate as proof. Upon hearing this claim Jerry Cruncher interrupts and, much to the surprise of all present, angrily states that he knows for a fact that Roger Cly's body was not in the coffin that was buried. Barsad is compelled by fear of discovery to assist Carton who, after he learns that Barsad can gain access to the prisoners (though he cannot free anyone), pours himself a third glass of brandy and then asks to speak to the spy in private.

While Carton and Barsad converse, Mr. Lorry demands that the visibly disturbed Jerry Cruncher tell him what else he's been doing for income besides acting as messenger at Tellson's. Cruncher initially answers "Agricultooral character" but when Mr. Lorry hints that he will lose his job Cruncher beseeches his employer to go easy on him since many doctors have performed the same function as himself but for higher wages. Seeing that this has not mollified Mr. Lorry, Cruncher begs him to let his son continue at Tellson's while he takes up the more honest profession of grave digging. He claims that the bloody sights of the revolution have caused him to reconsider his nocturnal profession and points out that he need not have volunteered the helpful information regarding Roger Cly. Mr. Lorry agrees to stay Cruncher's friend if he repents in action not just word. Soon afterward, Barsad leaves and Carton announces that he has ensured access to Darnay at least one time prior to his execution. Mr. Lorry is visibly distressed and saddened and Carton expresses feelings of tenderness for the old man that causes Mr. Lorry to re-evaluate the morose barrister. Mr. Lorry is to go visit Lucie that evening and Carton stresses the importance of keeping his presence in Paris a secret from her. Mr. Lorry affirms that he is ready to leave the city and his papers are in order. Carton reminds Mr. Lorry that though the old man is a bachelor he has the great comfort of knowing that if he were to die the next day there would be mourners at his funeral. He and Carton discuss the manner in which a man's memory returns to his childhood as he draws nearer to death and Carton admits that he has recently experienced powerful memories of his unhappy youth. Carton walks Mr. Lorry to the Manettes and then wanders the streets of Paris, retracing in part Lucie's daily walk to the prison. He stops at a chemist's shop and orders several concoctions, which the chemist cautions him against mixing improperly. As he walks that night he repeats to himself the words on his father's gravestone: "I am the resurrection and the life." The next morning he slips unnoticed into the courtroom where Charles is to be retried. The prosecution announces three witnesses, Monsieur and Madame Defarge and, amid great uproar, Doctor Manette himself. The doctor protests vociferously but is shouted down and told to listen to the evidence. Monsieur Defarge reads aloud a manuscript he recovered from the doctor's old cell the day that the Bastille fell.

The manuscript is in the doctor's hand was written after he had been a prisoner for ten years. It relates the incidents of his capture and detainment. One night in 1757 he was walking home from a case, a young surgeon with a growing reputation, when a carriage containing two twin gentlemen stopped him and under threats of violence took him to a house where a woman lay restrained on a bed. She was hysterical and kept repeating the phrase "My husband, my father, and my brother!" She then would count from one to twelve and say "Hush" before repeating the lines again. The two brothers seemed inconvenienced by the woman's condition and after the doctor gave her a sedative, which does not cease her litany, the brothers reluctantly admitted that there was another patient. In a back room filled with hay, the doctor found a young man dying of a saber wound. The brothers showed no pity for this boy whom they referred to as a "brute." As he died, the boy told the doctor how his sister, who lies in the other room, married a poor man like herself and when he would not consent to allowing one of the brothers to have his way with her the nobleman harnessed her husband to a cart and drove him like an animal until he died one day at noon, sobbing once for each stroke of the bell. The noble took the girl and when the boy told his father the old man's heart burst from grief and he died. The young man then came to kill the nobleman and free his sister but was outmatched and suffered the mortal wound that he soon died from. The noble who took the girl was none other than the Marquis Evr�monde. The girl lingered a week in great pain and the brothers only concern during this time was that the whole situation seemed ridiculous and potentially degrading to their family. When she finally died the nobles offered the doctor money and insisted on his discretion. He refused, however, to take their gold. The next morning the doctor found the gold on his front doorstep and wrote a letter to his Minister describing the whole situation. The next day, before sending the letter, he was visited by the wife of the Marquis St. Evremonde who had heard of the girl's mistreatment and was greatly distressed. She expressed her hope that the girl's younger sister would have a good life. The Doctor saw that the woman had a young son (who is Charles) with her and she shared her belief that in the future her son would have to pay for the wickedness of his father and uncle. The doctor delivered the letter that very day. That night he was summoned by a carriage for an urgent case but soon thereafter the carriage stopped and the brothers stepped from the roadside shadows, burnt the letter in front of the doctor and interred him in the prison where he has remained ever since without communication to the outside world. The Doctor's manuscript ends with a curse upon the Evremonde's and all their descendents. After the reading the crowd and the jury are unanimous in their condemnation of the Evremondes and sentence Charles to be executed the following day.

Lucie and Charles are allowed to briefly embrace. Charles comforts the distraught doctor with the thought that he has done everything in his power but that none can stop fate. Only after hearing the manuscript does the family understand the true nature of the doctor's years of torment. The doomed man is carried back to his cell and Lucie collapses at her father's feet. The doctor utters a great cry of anguish. Sydney Carton appears and carries the unconscious Lucie to a carriage and then into the Manette's apartment where he gently lays her on a couch. Little Lucie hugs Carton and begs him to do something to help them. Carton kisses the still insensible Lucie on the cheek and only little Lucie hears him whisper "A life you love." Carton immediately becomes business-like and brings the distraught doctor to his senses. Though he admits to Mr. Lorry that he has no hope of success, Carton charges the doctor with the task of working to spare Charles' life and then to report the result at Mr. Lorry's quarters that evening at 9 o'clock.

Analysis of Chapters 6-11
A great deal happens in this section to move the plot forward and reveal some the stories lingering mysteries. Like Doctor Manette, who is able to use his influence to free his son-in-law, Sydney Carton becomes a changed man in revolutionary Paris. Both men seem at their best when those they love are threatened. Like his friend Stryver, Carton is suddenly energetic and cunning as when he convinces Barsad to help him and, as in his conversation with Mr. Lorry, surprisingly open and sympathetic. His maneuverings and calculated steps (as when he visits the chemist) belie a greater scheme. The doctor's letter reveals, for the first time, the circumstances surrounding his imprisonment and explain the reason for his request that Darnay keep his true identity and secret and the relapse that followed that confession. The audience is reminded of the aristocrat's cruelty during the years leading up to the revolution by the letter. Ironically, it's author's term of imprisonment, recently made a source of strength, becomes the means for his son-in-law's sentence of death. In this way Fate, as personified by Madame Defarge, achieves mastery over the Evremonde clan and the dying boy's request is honored by the doctor himself.


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