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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


134

These, the people tore to pieces and scattered far and wide with
great enjoyment, while the tradesmen hurriedly shut up their
shops; for a crowd in those times stopped at nothing, and was a
monster much dreaded. They had already got the length of
opening the hearse to take the coffin out, when some brighter
genius proposed instead, its being escorted to its destination
amidst general rejoicing.

Practical suggestions being much needed, this suggestion, too, was
received with acclamation, and the coach was immediately filled
with eight inside and a dozen out, while as many people got on the
roof of the hearse as could by any exercise of ingenuity stick upon
it. Among the first of these volunteers was Jerry Cruncher himself,
who modestly concealed his spiky head from the observation of
Tellsonís, in the further corner of the mourning coach.

The officiating undertakers made some protest against these
changes in the ceremonies; but, the river being alarmingly near.
and several voices remarking on the efficacy of cold immersion in
bringing refractory members of the profession to reason, the
protest was faint and brief. The remodelled procession started,
with a chimney-sweep driving the hearse-advised by the regular
driver, who was perched beside him, under close inspection, for
the purpose-and with a pieman, also attended by his cabinet
minister, driving the mourning coach. A bear-leader, a popular
street character of the time, was impressed as an additional
ornament, before the cavalcade had gone far down the Strand; and
his bear, who was black and very mangy, gave quite an
Undertaking air to that part of the procession in which he walked.
Thus, with beer-drinking, pipe-smoking, song-roaring, and infinite
caricaturing of woe, the disorderly procession went its way,
recruiting at every step, and all the shops shutting up before it. Its
destination was the old church of Saint Pan-cras, far off in the
fields. It got there in course of time; insisted on pouring into the
burial-ground; finally, accomplished the interment of the deceased
Roger Cly in its own way, and highly to its own satisfaction.

The dead man disposed of, and the crowd being under the
necessity of providing some other entertainment for itself, another
brighter genius (or perhaps the same) conceived the humour of
impeaching casual passers-by, as Old Bailey spies, and wreaking
vengeance on them. Chase was given to some scores of inoffensive
persons who had never been near the Old Bailey in their lives, in
the realisation of this fancy, and they were roughly hustled and
maltreated. The transition to the sport of window-breaking, and
thence to the plundering of public-houses, was easy and natural.
At last, after several hours, when sundry summer houses had been
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