A Tale of Two Cities


Book 3, Chapter 14

Chapter fourteen opens with another scene of Madam Defarge’s bloodlust.  Not content to have sent Darnay to his death, Madame Defarge tells her companions that she is going to denounce Lucie, young Lucie, and Dr. Manette after Darnay is executed.  Madame Defarge then decides to go to Lucie's apartment, hoping to find her grieving for Darnay.  Her motivation is twofold; first, she wants to make Lucie suffer more, but more importantly, she wants evidence that Lucie has committed a crime.  Grieving the death of a public enemy is treason, and with his conviction and sentence, Darnay is considered a public enemy. 

While the reader may have forgotten about Miss Pross and Cruncher or thought that they were in Mr. Lorry’s carriage, they are also still in Paris and, because of their association with Darnay and his family, need to leave as well.  They make arrangements to leave.  Furthermore, Cruncher’s evolution continues.  He promises that if Mr. Lorry, Dr. Manette, and Lucie’s family make it safely to England, he was not only stop grave robbing, but will also stop beating his wife when she prays.  Miss Pross is in the apartment, preparing to leave, when Madame Defarge enters the apartment.  Miss Pross pretends that Lucie and her family are inside the apartment, trying to cover up her estate.  Madame Defarge tries to push past Miss Pross to inspect the apartment.  A scuffle ensues, and Madame Defarge draws a hidden gun.  The gun goes off in the struggle, killing Madame Defarge.  Miss Pross has been deafened by the gunshot, but manages to escape the apartment and meet Cruncher for their escape. 

While Miss Pross has been a consistent character in the novel up to this point, she has not seemed like an important character, but simply a caretaker.  However, her caretaking role is what sets her up as the perfect foil for Madame Defarge, who is trying to harm Lucie.  Both women are resolute in their determination to protect or avenge those they see as family, but...

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