A tale of 2 Cities

by Charles Dickens

publication the Second: The golden Thread—Chapter 9: The Gorgon"s Head
Year Published: 1859 Language: English Country of Origin: England Source: Dickens, C. (1859). A story of 2 Cities.

You are watching: A tale of two cities book 2, chapter 9

London, England: Chapman and Hall.

Dickens, C. (1859). Book the Second: The golden Thread—Chapter 9: The Gorgon"s Head. A story of two Cities (Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved November 16, 2021, native https://usmam.org/lit2go/22/a-tale-of-two-cities/126/book-the-second-the-golden-threadchapter-9-the-gorgons-head/

Dickens, Charles. "Book the Second: The golden Thread—Chapter 9: The Gorgon"s Head." A tale of 2 Cities. Lit2Go Edition. 1859. Web. Https://usmam.org/lit2go/22/a-tale-of-two-cities/126/book-the-second-the-golden-threadchapter-9-the-gorgons-head/>. November 16, 2021.

Charles Dickens, "Book the Second: The golden Thread—Chapter 9: The Gorgon"s Head," A story of 2 Cities, Lit2Go Edition, (1859), accessed November 16, 2021, https://usmam.org/lit2go/22/a-tale-of-two-cities/126/book-the-second-the-golden-threadchapter-9-the-gorgons-head/.

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It to be a heavy mass of building, the chateau that Monsieur the Marquis, v a big stone courtyard prior to it, and two stone sweeps the staircase conference in a rock terrace prior to the major door. A stony service altogether, with heavy rock balustrades, and rock urns, and stone flowers, and rock faces of men, and stone heads that lions, in every directions. Together if the Gorgon’s head had actually surveyed it, once it to be finished, two centuries ago.

Up the broad flight of shallow steps, Monsieur the Marquis, flambeau preceded, walk from his carriage, sufficiently disturbing the darkness come elicit loud remonstrance native an owl in the roof that the great pile of stable structure away amongst the trees. Every else was so quiet, the the flambeau brought up the steps, and also the various other flambeau organized at the an excellent door, burned as if they were in a near room of state, rather of gift in the open up night-air. Various other sound 보다 the owl’s voice there was none, conserve the failing the a fountain into its rock basin; for, it was one of those dark nights that host their breath by the hour together, and then heave a lengthy low sigh, and hold their breath again.

The good door clanged behind him, and Monsieur the Marquis overcome a room grim with particular old boar-spears, swords, and knives the the chase; grimmer with specific heavy riding-rods and riding-whips, the which countless a peasant, gone to his benefactor Death, had felt the weight once his mr was angry.

Avoiding the larger rooms, which to be dark and made rapid for the night, Monsieur the Marquis, through his flambeau-bearer walking on before, went increase the staircase come a door in a corridor. This thrown open, admitted him to his own private apartment of 3 rooms: his bed-chamber and two others. High vaulted rooms through cool uncarpeted floors, great dogs top top the hearths because that the burn of wood in winter time, and also all luxuries befitting the state of a marquis in a luxurious age and country. The fashion of the last Louis but one, that the line the was never to break —the fourteenth Louis—was conspicuous in their rich furniture; but, it was diversified by numerous objects that were illustrations the old pages in the background of France.

A supper-table to be laid for two, in the third of the rooms; a round room, in among the chateau’s four extinguisher-topped towers. A little lofty room, through its window vast open, and also the wooden jalousie-blinds closed, so that the dark night just showed in slim horizontal currently of black, alternating with their wide lines of stone colour.

“My nephew,” claimed the Marquis, glancing at the supper preparation; “they said he was no arrived.”

Nor to be he; but, he had actually been meant with Monseigneur.

“Ah! the is no probable he will certainly arrive to-night; nevertheless, leave the table together it is. Ns shall be all set in a quarter of an hour.”

In a quarter of an hour Monseigneur was ready, and sat down alone to his luxury and choice supper. His chair was opposite come the window, and also he had actually taken his soup, and was raising his glass that Bordeaux to his lips, as soon as he placed it down.

“What is that?” the calmly asked, looking with attention at the horizontal lines of black and rock colour.

“Monseigneur? That?”

“Outside the blinds. Open up the blinds.”

It was done.


“Monseigneur, the is nothing. The trees and also the night space all that room here.”

The servant that spoke, had thrown the blinds wide, had actually looked out right into the vacant darkness, and stood v that empty behind him, spring round for instructions.

“Good,” claimed the imperturbable master. “Close lock again.”

That to be done too, and also the Marquis went on with his supper. That was fifty percent way v it, when he again quit with his glass in his hand, listening the sound of wheels. It came on briskly, and came approximately the prior of the chateau.

“Ask that is arrived.”

It to be the nephew that Monseigneur. He had actually been some few leagues behind Monseigneur, early in the afternoon. He had diminished the distance rapidly, but not therefore rapidly as to come up v Monseigneur ~ above the road. He had heard of Monseigneur, at the posting-houses, together being before him.

He was to it is in told (said Monseigneur) the supper awaited him then and also there, and that he was prayed to involved it. In a small while that came. He had actually been well-known in England as Charles Darnay.

Monseigneur got him in a courtly manner, however they did no shake hands.

“You left Paris yesterday, sir?” he claimed to Monseigneur, together he take it his seat in ~ table.

“Yesterday. And you?”

“I come direct.”

“From London?”


“You have been a long time coming,” claimed the Marquis, through a smile.

“On the contrary; i come direct.”

“Pardon me! ns mean, no a lengthy time top top the journey; a long time intending the journey.”

“I have been detained by”—the nephew stopped a moment in his answer—”various business.”

“Without doubt,” stated the polished uncle.

So lengthy as a servant to be present, no other words passed between them. As soon as coffee had actually been served and they were alone together, the nephew, looking at the uncle and meeting the eyes of the challenge that was prefer a good mask, opened up a conversation.

“I have actually come back, sir, as you anticipate, pursuing the object that took me away. It carried me into good and unanticipated peril; but it is a sacred object, and if it had lugged me to death I hope it would have sustained me.”

“Not come death,” said the uncle; “it is not necessary to say, to death.”

“I doubt, sir,” went back the nephew, “whether, if that had carried me come the utmost brink that death, girlfriend would have actually cared to avoid me there.”

The deepened marks in the nose, and also the lengthening that the fine right lines in the devilish face, looked ominous as to that; the uncle make a graceful gesture that protest, which was so plainly a slight form of great breeding the it was no reassuring.

“Indeed, sir,” sought the nephew, “for anything ns know, you might have specifically worked to provide a more suspicious appearance come the suspicious situations that surrounded me.”

“No, no, no,” said the uncle, pleasantly.

“But, yet that may be,” resumed the nephew, glancing at him v deep distrust, “I recognize that your diplomacy would stop me by any means, and also would recognize no scruple as to means.”

“My friend, i told girlfriend so,” claimed the uncle, with a fine pulsation in the two marks. “Do me the favour come recall that ns told girlfriend so, long ago.”

“I recall it.”

“Thank you,” stated the Marquise—very sweetly indeed.

His ton lingered in the air, virtually like the ton of a musical instrument.

“In effect, sir,” gone after the nephew, “I think it to it is in at when your negative fortune, and also my an excellent fortune, that has kept me out of a prison in France here.”

“I carry out not quite understand,” reverted the uncle, sipping his coffee. “Dare i ask you come explain?”

“I think that if friend were not in disgrace through the Court, and had not been overshadowed by that cloud because that years past, a letter de cachet would have sent me to some fortress indefinitely.”

“It is possible,” claimed the uncle, with an excellent calmness. “For the honour of the family, I can even resolve to incommode girlfriend to that extent. Pray forgive me!”

“I consciousness that, happily because that me, the agree of the day before yesterday was, as usual, a cold one,” it was observed the nephew.

“I would not say happily, mine friend,” went back the uncle, with refined politeness; “I would not be certain of that. A great opportunity for consideration, surrounding by the benefits of solitude, can influence her destiny to far greater advantage than you affect it because that yourself. However it is useless to talk about the question. Ns am, as you say, at a disadvantage. These little instruments that correction, these gentle aids come the power and honour of families, these slight favours that could so incommode you, are only to be acquired now by interest and also importunity. They are sought by therefore many, and they room granted (comparatively) to so few! It used not to be so, yet France in every such things is adjusted for the worse. Our not remote ancestors held the ideal of life and death end the surrounding vulgar. From this room, plenty of such dogs have been taken the end to it is in hanged; in the following room (my bedroom), one fellow, come our knowledge, was poniarded ~ above the spot because that professing some insolent delicacy respecting his daughter—HIS daughter? We have lost countless privileges; a new philosophy has become the mode; and the assertion of our station, in these days, might (I execute not go so far as to say would, yet might) reason us actual inconvenience. All an extremely bad, really bad!”

The Marquis take it a gentle tiny pinch of snuff, and also shook his head; together elegantly despondent as he might becomingly it is in of a country still comprise himself, that great means the regeneration.

“We have so asserted our station, both in the old time and in the modern-day time also,” claimed the nephew, gloomily, “that I believe our surname to be more detested than any kind of name in France.”

“Let us hope so,” stated the uncle. “Detestation of the high is the involuntary homage of the low.”

“There is not,” gone after the nephew, in his former tone, “a challenge I deserve to look at, in every this country round around us, i m sorry looks in ~ me with any type of deference ~ above it however the dark deference that fear and also slavery.”

“A compliment,” stated the Marquis, “to the grandeur the the family, merited by the manner in i beg your pardon the family members has sustained its grandeur. Hah!” and he took an additional gentle small pinch that snuff, and also lightly overcome his legs.

But, when his nephew, leaning an elbow top top the table, covered his eyes thoughtfully and also dejectedly v his hand, the fine mask looked in ~ him sideways v a stronger concentration the keenness, closeness, and dislike, than was comportable v its wearer’s assumption of indifference.

“Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference that fear and also slavery, mine friend,” observed the Marquis, “will keep the dog obedient to the whip, as long as this roof,” looking as much as it, “shuts out the sky.”

That can not it is in so long as the Marquis supposed. If a picture of the chateau as it was to it is in a very couple of years hence, and also of fifty favor it together they too were to it is in a very couple of years hence, could have been presented to him the night, he might have been at a ns to claim his own from the ghastly, fire-charred, plunder-wrecked rains. Together for the roof the vaunted, he can have discovered THAT shutting the end the sky in a new way—to wit, because that ever, from the eyes of the bodies right into which that lead to be fired, out of the barrels that a hundred thousand muskets.

“Meanwhile,” said the Marquis, “I will keep the honour and also repose the the family, if you will not. Yet you need to be fatigued. Shall us terminate our conference because that the night?”

“A moment more.”

“An hour, if girlfriend please.”

“Sir,” said the nephew, “we have done wrong, and also are reaping the fruits of wrong.”

“WE have actually done wrong?” repetitive the Marquis, with an inquiring smile, and also delicately pointing, an initial to his nephew, then to himself.

“Our family; ours honourable family, whose honour is of so lot account to both of us, in such different ways. Even in mine father’s time, us did a human being of wrong, injuring every human being creature who came between us and our pleasure, every little thing it was. Why need I speak of mine father’s time, once it is equally yours? have the right to I separate my father’s twin-brother, joint inheritor, and also next successor, from himself?”

“Death has actually done that!” stated the Marquis.

“And has actually left me,” answered the nephew, “bound come a system that is frightful come me, responsible for it, yet powerless in it; seeking come execute the last inquiry of mine dear mother’s lips, and obey the last look of mine dear mother’s eyes, i beg your pardon implored me to have mercy and to redress; and tortured by seek assistance and power in vain.”

“Seeking them from me, mine nephew,” said the Marquis, emotional him on the breast through his forefinger—they were now standing by the hearth—”you will for ever seek lock in vain, it is in assured.”

Every fine directly line in the clean whiteness the his face, to be cruelly, craftily, and also closely compressed, while that stood looking quietly at his nephew, v his snuff-box in his hand. Once again he touch him ~ above the breast, together though his finger were the fine suggest of a tiny sword, v which, in fragile finesse, he ran him through the body, and also said,

“My friend, I will certainly die, perpetuating the system under i m sorry I have actually lived.”

When he had said it, he take it a culminating pinch the snuff, and put his box in his pocket.

“Better to be a rational creature,” he added then, after ringing a small bell top top the table, “and expropriate your organic destiny. However you room lost, Monsieur Charles, i see.”

“This property and France are shed to me,” claimed the nephew, sadly; “I renounce them.”

“Are castle both yours to renounce? France may be, but is the property? it is scarcely precious mentioning; but, is the yet?”

“I had actually no intention, in the words ns used, to claim it yet. If the passed come me indigenous you, to-morrow—”

“Which I have actually the vanity to hope is not probable.”

”—or two decades hence—”

“You execute me too lot honour,” claimed the Marquis; “still, I like that supposition.”

”—I would certainly abandon it, and live otherwise and also elsewhere. That is small to relinquish. What is it yet a wilderness the misery and also ruin!”

“Hah!” claimed the Marquis, glancing round the luxurious room.

“To the eye that is same enough, here; but seen in its integrity, under the sky, and also by the daylight, it is a crumbling tower that waste, mismanagement, extortion, debt, mortgage, oppression, hunger, nakedness, and suffering.”

“Hah!” stated the Marquis again, in a well-satisfied manner.

“If it ever becomes mine, that shall it is in put into some hands far better qualified to free it gradually (if such a point is possible) from the weight the drags it down, so the the miserable people who cannot leaving it and also who have been long wrung to the last suggest of endurance, may, in one more generation, experience less; yet it is not for me. There is a curse on it, and also on all this land.”

“And you?” stated the uncle. “Forgive mine curiosity; execute you, under your new philosophy, graciously intend to live?”

“I must do, to live, what rather of my countrymen, even with nobility at their backs, may have to do part day-work.”

“In England, because that example?”

“Yes. The family members honour, sir, is for sure from me in this country. The family name have the right to suffer from me in no other, for i bear the in no other.”

The ringing of the bell had caused the adjoining bed-chamber to be lighted. It currently shone brightly, with the door of communication. The Marquis looked that way, and listened because that the retreating step of his valet.

“England is really attractive come you, seeing how indifferently you have actually prospered there,” he it was observed then, transforming his calm confront to his nephew with a smile.

“I have already said, the for my succeeding there, ns am sensible I might be indebted come you, sir. Because that the rest, that is my Refuge.”

“They say, those boastful English, the it is the Refuge that many. You recognize a compatriot that has found a Refuge there? A Doctor?”


“With a daughter?”


“Yes,” claimed the Marquis. “You room fatigued. Good night!”

As that bent his head in his most courtly manner, there was a secrecy in his laugh face, and he conveyed an waiting of secret to those words, i m sorry struck the eyes and also ears of his nephew forcibly. In ~ the exact same time, the thin directly lines that the setting of the eyes, and the thin directly lips, and also the markings in the nose, curved v a sarcasm the looked handsomely diabolic.

“Yes,” recurring the Marquis. “A doctor with a daughter. Yes. So commences the brand-new philosophy! You are fatigued. Good night!”

It would have actually been that as lot avail to interrogate any stone face exterior the chateau regarding interrogate that confront of his. The nephew looked at him, in vain, in happen on to the door.

“Good night!” said the uncle. “I look to the pleasure of seeing you again in the morning. Good repose! irradiate Monsieur my nephew come his chamber there!—And burn Monsieur mine nephew in his bed, if friend will,” he added to himself, prior to he rang his little ben again, and also summoned his valet come his very own bedroom.

The valet come and also gone, Monsieur the Marquis go to and also fro in his loose chamber-robe, to prepare himself gently for sleep, that hot still night. Rustling about the room, his softly-slippered feet making no noise top top the floor, he relocated like a polished tiger:—looked favor some fascinating marquis the the impenitently wicked sort, in story, who periodical readjust into tiger form was either simply going off, or simply coming on.

He moved from end to finish of his voluptuous bedroom, spring again in ~ the scraps the the day’s journey that come unbidden into his mind; the sluggish toil increase the hill at sunset, the setup sun, the descent, the mill, the jail on the crag, the tiny village in the hollow, the peasants at the fountain, and also the mender of roads with his blue cap discussing the chain under the carriage. The fountain argued the Paris fountain, the little bundle lying on the step, the ladies bending end it, and the tall male with his arms up, crying, “Dead!”

“I am cool now,” claimed Monsieur the Marquis, “and might go come bed.”

So, leaving just one light burning on the large hearth, he let his slim gauze curtains fa>J about him, and heard the night rest its silence through a long sigh together he created himself to sleep.

The stone faces top top the outer wails stared blindly at the black night for three heavy hours; for three heavy hours, the equines in the stables rattled at their racks, the dog barked, and also the owl make a noise through very tiny resemblance in it to the noise traditionally assigned come the owl through men-poets. But it is the obstinate tradition of together creatures hardly ever to to speak what is collection down for them.

For three hefty hours, the stone faces that the chateau, lion and also human, stared thoughtlessly at the night. Dead darkness put on every the landscape, dead darkness added its very own hush to the hushing dust on all the roads. The burial-place had gained to the pass that its small heaps of poor grass to be undistinguishable native one another; the number on the Cross might have come down, because that anything that can be checked out of it. In the village, taxers and taxed were rapid asleep. Dreaming, perhaps, that banquets, together the starved usually do, and of ease and also rest, together the thrust slave and also the yoked ox may, that is lean residents slept soundly, and also were fed and also freed.

The fountain in the village flowed unseen and also unheard, and also the fountain in ~ the chateau dropped unseen and also unheard—both melting away, prefer the minutes the were falling indigenous the feather of Time— through three dark hours. Then, the grey water that both started to be ghostly in the light, and also the eye of the stone faces that the chateau to be opened.

Lighter and lighter, until at last the sun touched the top of the tho trees, and poured that radiance over the hill. In the glow, the water the the chateau fountain seemed to turn to blood, and the rock faces crimsoned. The carol of the birds was loud and also high, and, top top the weather-beaten sill the the great window of the bed- chamber of Monsieur the Marquis, one little bird sang that sweetest song with every its might. In ~ this, the nearest stone face seemed to rigid amazed, and, with open mouth and dropped under-jaw, looked awe-stricken.

Now, the sunlight was full up, and also movement started in the village. Casement windows opened, crazy doors to be unbarred, and also people came forth shivering—chilled, together yet, through the brand-new sweet air. Then began the hardly ever lightened toil that the day among the town population. Some, to the fountain; some, come the fields; men and women here, come dig and delve; men and women there, to watch to the poor live stock, and lead the bony cows out, to such pasture as can be found by the roadside. In the church and at the Cross, a kneeling number or two; attendant ~ above the last prayers, the led cow, trying because that a breakfast among the weeds in ~ its foot.

The chateau awoke later, as came to be its quality, yet awoke gradually and also surely. First, the lonely boar-spears and knives the the chase had been reddened together of old; then, had gleamed trenchant in the morning sunshine; now, doors and windows to be thrown open, horses in their stables looked ring over your shoulders at the light and also freshness putting in at doorways, pipeline sparkled and rustled in ~ iron-grated windows, dogs pulled hard at their chains, and also reared impatient to it is in loosed.

All these trivial occurrences belonged to the regime of life, and the return the morning. Surely, no so the ringing of the great bell the the chateau, no one the running up and also down the stairs; no one the hurried numbers on the terrace; nor the booting and also tramping here and there and everywhere, no one the fast saddling the horses and also riding away?

What winds conveyed this hurry come the grizzled mender that roads, currently at work on the hill-top beyond the village, with his day’s dinner (not much to carry) lying in a bundle the it to be worth no crow’s while to peck at, ~ above a heap that stones? had actually the birds, transporting some grains of it to a distance, reduce one over him as they sow opportunity seeds? whether or no, the mender of roads ran, top top the sultry morning, together if because that his life, under the hill, knee-high in dust, and also never stopped till he gained to the fountain.

All the civilization of the town were at the fountain, standing about in their depressed manner, and whispering low, however showing no various other emotions than grim curiosity and also surprise. The led cows, hastily lugged in and also tethered come anything that would host them, to be looking stupidly on, or lying under chewing the cud that nothing specifically repaying their trouble, i m sorry they had actually picked increase in your interrupted saunter. Few of the human being of the chateau, and also some that those that the posting-house, and also all the taxing authorities, to be armed more or less, and also were crowded on the other side of the tiny street in a purposeless way, the was highly fraught through nothing. Already, the mender of roads had penetrated into the middle of a team of fifty specific friends, and also was smiting himself in the breast through his blue cap. What did all this portend, and what portended the swift hoisting-up that Monsieur Gabelle behind a maid on horseback, and also the conveying away of the stated Gabelle (double-laden though the steed was), in ~ a gallop, favor a brand-new version the the German ballad of Leonora?

It portended the there was one stone face also many, up at the chateau.

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The Gorgon had actually surveyed the building again in the night, and had added the one stone face wanting; the stone face for which it had waited through about two hundred years.

It lay back on the pillow of Monsieur the Marquis. The was choose a good mask, unexpectedly startled, make angry, and also petrified. Driven residence into the love of the stone figure attached come it, to be a knife. Round its hilt to be a frill that paper, top top which was scrawled: