RWM: A Tale of Two Cities, Book III, Chapters VIII

Previously: Book III, Chapter VI-VII | Coming Soon: Book III, Chapter IX

Welcome to the twenty-fourth week of this read-with-me project. This week we read Chapter VI: The Triumph and Chapter VII: A Knock at the Door. This section was first released in a magazine called All the Year Round on Saturday, October 9th 1859.

The story so far…

Charles was released from La Force following a trial and reunited with his family. Unfortunately, he was rearrested the very same evening and now awaits a second trial. 

In this section… 

While out shopping Miss Pross has a start when she recognises a man who she did not expect to be there. It takes some time to unravel the mystery of his identity and there was a small part of me that thought it was going to be Sydney Carton. Instead, it is her brother Solomon Pross, but he has many names. Sydney, who also appears shortly after the Miss Pross’ identification, further identifies the man as Barsad, the English spy from Book II, Chapter XVI. 

We learn a little about Miss Pross’ relationship with her brother, given that they are two very different characters. 

“She [Miss Pross] was too much occupied then with fears for the brother who so little deserved her affection, and with Sydney’s friendly reassurances, adequately to heed what she observed.”

The structure of this sentence is curious because it places Sydney in the role of a reliable, trustworthy character. Previously this role would have been taken up by Charles. This shows the growth of Sydney so far, and that he has developed into a much better man than when we first met him. Perhaps it even suggests he is now equal to Charles. The concept of deserving love is something that Sydney has previously struggled with and is the reason he abandoned hopes of courting Lucie earlier in the book. 

The group make their way to Mr Lorry’s residence where all of those previously unaware learn of Charles’ rearrest. With this information, everyone is on the same page once more. 

Sydney takes charge of the group and hits that he has a plan to save Charles. To get Barsad’s cooperation in his plan he threatens to expose the latter as the English spy, on account of Sydney witnessing his speaking to another spy, Roger Cly. While Barsad claims that Cly is dead, Mr Cruncher knows this to be false as he opened Cly’s coffin to find no corpse. He does not say how he came by this information, but he does share it with the group. The chapter ends with Barsad agreeing to help Sydney with his plan. 

What about you… Are you reading along with A Tale of Two Cities, and if so, what did you think of this section?

Dates for your diary: 

Chapter IX on the 22nd of October (Post: 24th of October)

Chapter X on the 29th of October (Post: 31st of October)

Chapters XI-XII on the 5th of November (Post: 7th of November)

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