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THERE HAD BEEN earlier drinking than usual in the wine-shop
of Monsieur Defarge. As early as six o’clock in the morning, sallow
faces peeping through its barred windows had descried other faces
within, bending over measures of wine. Monsieur Defarge sold a
very thin wine at the best of times, but it would seem to have been
an unusually thin wine that he sold at this time. A sour wine,
moreover, or a souring, for its influence on the mood of those who
drank it was to make them gloomy. No vivacious Bacchanalian
flame leaped out of the pressed grape of Monsieur Defarge: but, a
smouldering fire that burnt in the dark, lay hidden in the dregs of

This had been the third morning in succession, on which there had
been early drinking at the wine-shop of Monsieur Defarge. It had
begun on Monday, and here was Wednesday come. There had
been more of early brooding than drinking; for, many men had
listened and whispered and slunk about there from the time of the
opening of the door, who could not have laid a piece of money on
the counter to save their souls. These were to the full as interested
in the place, however, as if they could have commanded whole
barrels of wine; and they glided from seat to seat, and from corner
to corner, swallowing talk in lieu of drink, with greedy looks.
Notwithstanding an unusual flow of company, the master of the
wineshop was not visible. He was not missed; for, nobody who
crossed the threshold looked for him, nobody asked for him,
nobody wondered to see only Madame Defarge in her seat,
presiding over the distribution of wine, with a bowl of battered
small coins before her, as much defaced and beaten out of their
original impress as the small coinage of humanity from whose
ragged pockets they had come.

A suspended interest and a prevalent absence of mind, were
perhaps observed by the spies who looked in at the wine-shop, as
they looked in at every place, high and low, from the king’s palace
to the criminal’s gaol. Games at cards languished, players at
dominoes musingly built towers with them, drinkers drew figures
on the tables with spilt drops of wine, Madame Defarge herself
picked out the pattern on her sleeve with her toothpick, and saw
and heard something inaudible and invisible a long way off.

Thus, Saint Antoine in this vinous feature of his, until midday. It
was high noontide, when two dusty men passed through his streets
and under his swinging lamps: of whom, one was Monsieur
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