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I think for others? No, no.” The spy, who was there to pick up any
crumbs he could find or make, did not allow his baffled state to
express itself in his sinister face; but, stood with an air of gossiping
gallantry, leaning his elbow on Madame Defarge’s little counter,
and occasionally sipping his cognac.
“A bad business this, madame, of Gaspard’s execution. Ah! the
poor Gaspard!” With a sigh of great compassion.
“My faith!” returned madame, coolly and lightly, “if people use
knives for such purposes, they have to pay for it. He knew
beforehand what the price of his luxury was; he has paid the
price.” “I believe,” said the spy, dropping his soft voice to a tone
that invited confidence, and expressing an injured revolutionary
susceptibility in every muscle of his wicked face: “I believe there is
much compassion and anger in this neighbourhood, touching the
poor fellow? Between ourselves.” “Is there?” asked madame,
“Is there not?” “-Here is my husband!” said Madame Defarge.
As the keeper of the wine-shop entered at the door, the spy saluted
him by touching his hat, and saying, with an engaging smile,
“Good day, Jacques!” Defarge stopped short, and stared at him.
“Good day, Jacques!” the spy repeated; with not quite so much
confidence, or quite so easy a smile under the stare.
“You deceive yourself, monsieur,” returned the keeper of the
wineshop. “You mistake me for another. That is not my name. I am
Ernest Defarge.” “It is all the same,” said the spy, airily, but
discomfited too: “good day!
“Good day!” answered Defarge, drily.
“I was saying to madame, with whom I had the pleasure of
chatting when you entered, that they tell me there is-and no
wonder!- much sympathy and anger in Saint Antoine, touching the
unhappy fate of poor Gaspard.” “No one has told me so,” said
Defarge, shaking his head. “I know nothing of it.” Having said it,
he passed behind the little counter, and stood with his hand on the
back of his wife’s chair, looking over that barrier at the person to
whom they were both opposed, and whom either of them would
have shot with the greatest satisfaction.
The spy, well used to his business, did not change his unconscious
attitude, but drained his little glass of cognac, took a sip of fresh
water, and asked for another glass of cognac. Madame Defarge
poured it out for him, took to her knitting again, and hummed a
little song over it.
“You seem to know this quarter well; that is to say, better than I
do?” observed Defarge.