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presided. Madame Defarge being sensitive to cold, was wrapped
in fur, and had a quantity of bright shawl twined about her head,
though not to the concealment of her large ear-rings. Her knitting
was before her, but she had laid it down to pick her teeth with a
toothpick. Thus engaged, with her right elbow supported by her
left hand, Madame Defarge said nothing when her lord came in,
but coughed just one grain of cough. This, in combination with the
lifting of her darkly defined eyebrows over her toothpick by the
breadth of a line, suggested to her husband that he would do well
to look round the shop among the customers, for any new
customer who had dropped in while he stepped over the way.
The wine-shop keeper accordingly rolled his eyes about, until they
rested upon an elderly gentleman and a young lady, who were
seated in a corner. Other company were there: two playing cards,
two playing dominoes, three standing by the counter lengthening
out a short supply of wine. As he passed behind the counter, he
took notice that the elderly gentleman said in a look to the young
lady, “This is our man.” “What the devil do you do in that galley
there?” said Monsieur Defarge to himself; “I don’t know you.” But,
he feigned not to notice the two strangers, and fell into discourse
with the triumvirate of customers who were drinking at the
“How goes it, Jacques?” said one of these three to Monsieur
Defarge. “Is all the spilt wine swallowed?” “Every drop, Jacques,”
answered Monsieur Defarge.
When this interchange of Christian name was effected, Madame
Defarge, picking her teeth with her toothpick, coughed another
grain of cough, and raised her eyebrows by the breadth of another
“It is not often,” said the second of the three, addressing Monsieur
Defarge, “that many of these miserable beasts know the taste of
wine, or of anything but black bread and death. Is it not so,
Jacques?” “It is so, Jacques,” Monsieur Defarge returned.
At this second interchange of the Christian name, Madame
Defarge, still using her toothpick with profound composure,
coughed another grain of cough, and raised her eyebrows by the
breadth of another line.
The last of the three now said his say, as he put down his empty
drinking vessel and smacked his lips.
“Ah! So much the worse! A bitter taste it is that such poor cattle
always have in their mouths, and hard lives they live, Jacques. Am
I right, Jacques?” “You are right, Jacques,” was the response of