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Free Study Guide: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - Free BookNotes

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BOOK THREE: The Track of a Storm

CHAPTER SEVEN: A Knock at the Door


Though Darnay is safe for the moment, Lucie feels apprehensive and is still fearful he will be killed. Lucie and her husband stay in the lodge, living modestly. Not wanting to attract attention, they send Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher to do the shopping for the family. They wonder how soon it will be safe for them to leave Paris.

One day Darnay, Lucie and the Doctor are sitting silently waiting for Mr. Lorry when a loud knock is heard at the door. The Doctor opens the door to four rough men in red caps. They have come to arrest Charles Darnay. He has been denounced in the region of St. Antoine by the Defarges and a third man whom they do not identify. When asked by the Doctor what the identity of the third man is, they look surprised and wonder why he, of all people, is asking. They do not reveal his identity and merely say that they will learn everything at the trial the next day.


After the release of Charles Darnay, the family lives in a threatening atmosphere. This is reinforced by Lucie's premonitions. She has visions that Charles is among those condemned to die at the guillotine. As a result, the Darnays do not venture outdoors or dare to plan their return to England. Either is too dangerous.

Dr. Manette’s joy over rescuing Darnay is short-lived. He simply cannot outwit the latent negative power of the revolutionaries, especially that of Madame Defarge. The ominous knock on the door fills Lucie's heart with terror. Her fears have come true. Darnay is re-arrested. His accusers are the Defarges and the a third unnamed man. The chapter ends with tension and suspense.



Unconscious of the new developments that have taken place at the lodge, Miss Pross and Jerry Cruncher wind their way through narrow streets in search of food. They make a few purchases and turn into a wine shop. Miss Pross is startled to see her brother Solomon. Jerry Cruncher recognizes him as John Barsad, the police spy. Sydney Carton arrives in the shop and tells Miss Pross that John Barsad is now a spy among the prisoners. When Carton suggests that Barsad should accompany him to Mr. Lorry's house, the spy, knowing that Carton has too much information against him, relents.

Carton informs Mr. Lorry of the re-arrest of Darnay and states that the Doctor's influence is not likely to save Darnay again. Carton, however, says he has made plans, which he refuses to divulge to anyone. He gives strict instructions that Dr. Manette, by using his influence, should procure papers for himself, Lucie, and the child. Barsad is at first unwilling to aid Darnay's friends, but he is reminded that Carton has a great deal of information against him which could have him denounced as an enemy of the Republic and send him straight to the guillotine. As a result, Barsad agrees to help.


Miss Pross recognizes her long lost brother Solomon, who has become the police spy John Barsad; he had been the sole mourner at Roger Cly's mock funeral twelve years ago. Cruncher knows that Cly is alive, for he had opened the coffin and found it empty. There was a fake death and false rebirth, obviously for evil purposes. Both Barsad and Cly are typical spies, loyal to no one.

When Sydney Carton comes to know the identity of Barsad, he realizes that this man, being a prison spy, can help him in his plans. He blackmails Barsad in to helping him. Again, the chapter ends in suspense, for the reader is given no clues as to the plans of Sydney Carton.



Mr. Lorry is angry that Jerry Cruncher is using his job at Tellson's Bank as a cover for his body snatching and threatens to have him discharged. Cruncher informs him that a great deal of other respectable clients, like surgeons, undertakers, and sextons, will be implicated too. He also adds that losing his job at Tellson's Bank will only drive him further into body snatching. Mr. Lorry agrees to remain silent about Cruncher’s second job when the man promises to permanently give up his shady job.

Carton tells Mr. Lorry that, thanks to Barsad’s help, he has access to the prison in case things do not go well at Darnay’s trial. Mr. Lorry feels that having the access is not sufficient to save Darnay's life. Carton is moved by his tears and tells Lorry not to despair. He also hints of his own death. Before leaving, Carton makes Mr. Lorry promise not to reveal his presence in Paris to Lucie. When he steps out onto the streets, Carton is mentally reciting the Biblical passage, "I am the resurrection and the light." He stops at a chemist's shop and buys something..

The next day Darnay is brought in front of the same unjust Tribunal. Lucie is also present at the trial. The President announces the names of the three who have denounced him; the Defarges and Dr. Manette. The Doctor looks pale and tries to explain himself, but he is hushed. Defarge is called, and he informs them of the Doctor's imprisonment and how he later went to the very same cell and procured a letter that the Doctor had hidden in a hole in the chimney. He is asked to read the manuscript.


Carton does not want Lucie to know that he is in Paris and that he has access to Darnay through the prison spy, Barsad, since she may guess his plan and prevent him from carrying it out. The conversation between Mr. Lorry and Carton is tinged with sentimentality and also contains hints of what Carton plans to do. Carton praises Mr. Lorry for his long and useful life and speaks about his own remorse over his wasted life. Lorry sentimentally reminds him that he is a solitary, old bachelor and that there will be no one to mourn him when he dies. Carton reminds him that Lucie will certainly weep. Both the men feel the shadow of death, the old man because of advanced age and the young one because he has already planned his own demise. When he leaves Lorry, he goes to the chemist and buys some drugs. He also mentally quotes from the Bible (John 11: 25-26), verses that reinforce the resurrection theme. The Biblical quotation also foreshadows the fact that Carton will die in order to save Darnay and insure Lucie’s happiness.

It seems that Madame Defarge is about to get her final revenge. For years she has harbored an all consuming hatred for the Evremonde family, and now she has the power to destroy the last of them, Darnay. It appears she has real evidence against Darnay to be produced in his second trial; it should ensure his conviction.

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