Welcome to the twenty-seventh week of this read-with-me project. This week we read Chapter X: The Substance of Shadow. This section was first released in a magazine called All the Year Round on Saturday, October 29th 1859.
The story so far…
Charles is on trial. Again. It was revealed that his third accused is Dr Manette, something which the later contests. Monsieur Defarge reads out a letter found in Dr Manette’s cell in the Bastille.
In this section…
The chapter is primarily made up on Defarge reading the letter out loud. It tells of the circumstances which lead to Dr Manette’s imprisonment. While this is interesting enough and fills in some of the background knowledge, I was not especially taken with the account. Essentially the villainous Marquis, who ran a child down in the street, has an even more villainous past which includes murder, and rape. He is the one who calls for the imprisonment of Doctor Manette.
This account removes any doubt of Doctor Manette’s innocence, despite his imprisonment. It shows just how powerful men like the Marquis were before the rebellion and revolution of the people.
What I enjoy most about this story is how it ties our characters further together. Not only in terms of Charles and the Manette’s but also Defarge, who used to be an assistant to the Doctor. It suggests to me that these characters were always tied together and whether by fate, destiny, of Charles’ stupidity it should come as no surprise that they stand together once more.
The chapter ends with Charles being sentenced to death within twenty-four hours. It’s important to remember that this sentencing is not based on Charles’ actions, but the actions of his father and uncle.
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:
Chapters XI-XII on the 5th of November (Post: 7th of November)
Chapter XIII on the 12th of November (Post: 14th of November)
Chapter XIV on the 19th of November (Post: 21st of November)