Audibly Speaking: Listening to History
“The Substance of the Shadow” from Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities
In this chapter, Dr. Manette’s long-buried message, found in the Bastille by Ernest Defarge, is used to condemn Charles Darnay, son-in-law of the good doctor and husband of his fair daughter, to death at the Guillotine! In vain does Dr. Manette protest that he no longer condemned the entire Evremonde family to the last of its line, now that the latest Marquis, dear Charles, has his head on the block. Madame Defarge is confidant that her use of the doctor’s note of condemnation will foil the doctor’s effort to free Charles.
And, not only that: She has plans to dispatch Lucy and little Lucy, as Evremondes themselves as well as the doctor, hoping that they too will be shaved by the revolutionary razor. What will stand between Charles and the bloodthirsty wishes of Madame Defarge? Spoiler alert: Where is Miss Pross as all this is going on?