Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
smelt much stronger than it ever tasted, and so did the stock of
rum and brandy and aniseed. He whiffed the compound of scents
away, as he put down his smoked-out pipe.
“You are fatigued,” said madame, raising her glance as she knotted
the money. “There are only the usual odours.” “I am a little tired,”
her husband acknowledged.
“You are a little depressed, too,” said madame, whose quick eyes
had never been so intent on the accounts, but they had had a ray or
two for him. “Oh, the men, the men!”
“But my dear!” began Defarge.
“But my dear!” repeated madame, nodding firmly; “but my dear!
You are faint of heart to-night, my dear!” “Well, then,” said
Defarge, as if a thought were wrung out of his breast, “it is a long
time.” “It is a long time,” repeated his wife; “and when is it not a
long time? Vengeance and retribution require a long time; it is the
rule.” “It does not take a long time to strike a man with Lightning,”
“How long,” demanded madame, composedly, “does it take to
make and store the lightning? Tell me.” Defarge raised his head
thoughtfully, as if there were something in that too.
“It does not take a long time,” said madame, “for an earthquake to
swallow a town. Eh well! Tell me how long it takes to prepare the
earthquake?” “A long time, I suppose,” said Defarge.
“But when it is ready, it takes place, and grinds to pieces
everything before it.
In the meantime, it is always preparing, though it is not seen or
heard. That is your consolation. Keep it.” She tied a knot with
flashing eyes, as if it throttled a foe.
“I tell thee,” said madame, extending her right hand, for emphasis,
“that although it is a long time on the road, it is on the road and
coming. I tell thee it never retreats, and never stops. I tell thee it is
always advancing. Look around and consider the lives of all the
world that we know, consider the faces of all the world that we
know, consider the rage and discontent to which the Jacquerie
addresses itself with more and more of certainty every hour. Can
such things last? Bah! I mock you.” “My brave wife,” returned
Defarge, standing before her with his head a little bent, and his
hands clasped at his back, like a docile and attentive pupil before
his catechist, “I do not question all this. But it has lasted a long
time, and it is possible-you know well, my wife, it is possible-that
it may not come, during our lives.” “Eh well! How then?”
demanded madame, tying another knot, as if there were another