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nose but not straight, having a peculiar inclination towards the left
cheek which imparts a sinister expression! Good day, one and all!”
“Have the goodness to give me a little glass of old cognac, and a
mouthful of cool fresh water, madame.” Madame complied with a
“Marvellous cognac this, madame!” It was the first time it had ever
been so complimented, and Madame Defarge knew enough of its
antecedents to know better. She said, however, that the cognac was
flattered, and took up her knitting. The visitor watched her fingers
for a few moments, and took the opportunity of observing the
place in general.
“You knit with great skill, madame.” “I am accustomed to it.” “A
pretty pattern too!”
“You think so?” said madame, looking at him with a smile.
“Decidedly. May one ask what it is for?” “Pastime,” said madame,
still looking at him with a smile while her fingers moved nimbly.
“Not for use?” “That depends. I may find a use for it one day. If I
do-- Well,” said madame, drawing a breath and nodding her head
with a stern kind of coquetry, “I’ll use it!” It was remarkable; but,
the taste of Saint Antoine seemed to be decidedly opposed to a rose
on the head-dress of Madame Defarge. Two men had entered
separately, and had been about to order drink, when, catching
sight of that novelty, they faltered, made a pretence of looking
about as if for some friend who was not there, and went away.
Nor, of those who had been there when this visitor entered, was
there one left. They had all dropped off. The spy had kept his eyes
open, but had been able to detect no sign. They had lounged away
in a poverty stricken, purposeless, accidental manner, quite natural
“JOHN,” thought madame, checking off her work as her fingers
knitted, and her eyes looked at the stranger. “Stay long enough,
and I shall knit ‘BARSAD’ before you go.” “You have a husband,
madame?” “I have.”
“Children?” “No children.” “Business seems bad?” “Business is
very bad; the people are so poor.” “Ah, the unfortunate, miserable
people! So oppressed, too-as you say.” “As you say,” madame
retorted, correcting him, and deftly knitting an extra something
into his name that boded him no good.
“Pardon me; certainly it was I who said so, but you naturally think
so. Of course.” “I think?” returned madame, in a high voice. “I and
my husband have enough to do to keep this wine-shop open,
without thinking. All we think, here, is how to live. That is the
subject we think of, and it gives us, from morning to night, enough
to think about, without embarrassing our heads concerning others.