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the struggle for the lost wine. “It’s not my affair,” said he, with a
final shrug of the shoulders. “The people from the market did it.
Let them bring another.” There, his eyes happening to catch the tall
joker writing up his joke, he called to him across the way: “Say,
then, my Gaspard, what do you do there?” The fellow pointed to
his joke with immense significance, as is often the way with his
tribe. It missed its mark, and completely failed, as is often the way
with his tribe too.
“What now? Are you a subject for the mad hospital?” said the
wineshop keeper, crossing the road, and obliterating the jest with a
handful of mud, picked up for the purpose, and smeared over it.
“Why do you write in the public streets? Is there-tell me thou-is
there no other place to write such words in?” In his expostulation
he dropped his cleaner hand (perhaps accidentally, perhaps not)
upon the joker’s heart. The joker rapped it with his own, took a
nimble spring upward, and came down in a fantastic dancing
attitude, with one of his stained shoes jerked off his foot into his
hand, and held out. A joker of an extremely, not to say wolfishly
practical character, he looked, under those circumstances.
“Put it on, put it on,” said the other. “Call wine, wine; and finish
there.” With that advice, he wiped his soiled hand upon the joker’s
dress, such as it was-quite deliberately, as having dirtied the hand
on his account; and then recrossed the road and entered the wine-
This wine-shop keeper was a bull-necked, martial-looking man of
thirty, and he should have been of a hot temperament, for,
although it was a bitter day, he wore no coat, but carried one slung
over his shoulder. His shirt-sleeves were rolled up, too, and his
brown arms were bare to the elbows. Neither did he wear anything
more on his head than his own crisply-curling short dark hair. He
was a dark man altogether, with good eyes and a good bold
breadth between them.
Good-humoured looking on the whole, but implacable-looking,
too; evidently a man of a strong resolution and a set purpose; a
man not desirable to be met, rushing down a narrow pass with a
gulf on either side, for nothing would turn the man.
Madame Defarge, his wife, sat in the shop behind the counter as he
Madame Defarge was a stout woman of about his own age, with a
watchful eye that seldom seemed to look at anything, a large hand
heavily ringed, a steady face, strong features, and great composure
of manner. There was a character about Madame Defarge, from
which one might have predicated that she did not often make
mistakes against herself in any of the reckonings over which she