The Marquis of Evrémonde was a disappointed man. He had
waited for hours at the palace of the King of France, but the King had
not spoken to him. Angrily, the Marquis got into his coach and told the
driver to take him home. Very soon the coach was driving fast out of
Paris, and the people in the narrow streets had to run to get out of the
way, if they could. At the corner of a street in Saint Antoine, one of
the coach wheels hit something, and the people in the street screamed
loudly. The horses were frightened and stopped.
'What has gone wrong?' asked the Marquis calmly, looking out of the
window of the coach. A tall man had picked something up from under the
feet of the horses and was crying loudly over it.
'Why is that man making that terrible noise?' asked the Marquis
'I'm sorry, Monsieur the Marquis. It is his child,' said one of the
'Dead! Killed!' screamed the man.
The people in the street came close to the coach and looked at
the Marquis with stony, silent faces. The Marquis looked back at
them in bored dislike. To him, they were no more than animals.
'I can't understand,' he said coldly, 'why you people cannot
take care of yourselves and your children. I hope my horses are
not hurt.' And he threw a gold coin to his driver. 'Give this to
'Dead!' shouted the father of the child again.
Another man came forward. 'Be brave, Gaspard. Your child has
died quickly, and without pain. It is better to die like that
than to go on living in these terrible times.'
'You are a sensible man,' said the Marquis from his coach. 'What
is your name?'
'They call me Defarge.'
'This is for you,' said the Marquis, and he threw Defarge
another gold coin. 'Drive on,' he called to his driver.
Just as the coach was leaving, a coin was
thrown back in through the window. The Marquis looked angrily at
the corner where Defarge had been standing. Defarge had gone.
the corner there now stood a large, dark-haired woman, knitting.
She stared long and hard at the face of the Marquis, but he did
not look at her, and drove on.
Later that day, as the sun was going down, the same coach
stopped in a village near the Marquis's castle. Several
villagers, in poor thin clothes, with thin hungry faces, were
standing in the village square. The Marquis looked at their
faces and then pointed to one of them.
'Bring that man to me,' he said to his driver.
The man came up to the coach, hat in hand, and the other
villagers moved closer to listen.
'I passed you on the road just outside the village,' said the
Marquis. 'You were looking at my coach in a very strange way.
Why was that?'
'Monsieur, I was looking at the man,' came the reply. 'What man?'
asked the Marquis angrily. 'The man who was holding on under your
coach,' said the poor man, trembling with fear. 'What was he like?'
'Oh, Monsieur, he was white from head to foot. All covered with
dust. Just like a ghost.'
'Where is he now? What happened to him?'
'Oh, he ran away down the hill outside the village.'
The Marquis turned to speak to another man. This was Monsieur
Gabelle, the Marquis's official in the village.
'Gabelle,' the Marquis said, 'watch out for this man. If he comes
here, put him in prison.'
When the Marquis arrived at his castle, he asked if his nephew,
Monsieur Charles, had arrived from England.
'Not yet, sir,' replied the servant, but as the Marquis was
eating his dinner, he heard the sound of a coach outside. Soon
his nephew entered the room. In England he was known as Charles
'You've been away for a long time,' said the Marquis, with his
cold, polite smile.
'I've had many problems in England. Perhaps because of you,'
Darnay said to his uncle. 'I was in great danger.'
'No, no, I had nothing to do with your problems,' replied the
Marquis coldly. 'Unfortunately, our family no longer has the
power that it once had.'
'If it still had that power, one word from you would doubtless
send me to prison,' said Darnay.
'Possibly. For the good of our family.'
'The name of our family is hated everywhere in France. We are hard, cruel
landowners. Our miserable people own nothing. They work for us night and day,
but they don't even have enough food for themselves and their children. If this
land became mine, I would give it away, and go and live somewhere else.'
'You seem to be very fond of England, although you are not a rich man there,'
said the Marquis. 'I believe you know another Frenchman who has found a safe
home there. A Doctor, I believe?'
'With a daughter?' 'Yes.'
'Yes,' said the Marquis with a secret smile on his face. 'So, a new way of life
begins. But you are tired. Goodnight, Charles. Sleep well. I shall see you in
the morning.' After his nephew had gone to bed, the Marquis went to his room. The
castle was surrounded with darkness. In the villages nearby the hungry people
dreamt of a better life, with enough good food to eat, and time to rest from
Early in the morning the dreamers awoke and started their day's hard work. The
people in the castle did not get up until later, but when they did, why did the
great bell start ringing? Why did people run out of the castle to the village as
fast as they could?
The answer lay in the bed of the Marquis. He lay there, like stone, with a knife
pushed into his heart. On his chest lay a piece of paper with the words:
'Drive him fast to his grave. This is from JACQUES.'