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Madame Roland




(From "A Tale of Two Cities.")

[CHARLES DICKENS, one of the greatest novelists and humorists of the world, was born February 7, 1812, at Portsea, Eng. His father being unprosperous, he had no regular education and much hardship; at fourteen became an attorney's clerk, and at seventeen a reporter. His first short story appeared in December, 1833; the collected "Sketches by Boz" in 1836, which also saw the first number of "The Pickwick Papers," finished in November, 1837. There followed "Oliver Twist," "Nicholas Nickleby," "Master Humphrey's Clock" (finally dissolved into the "Old Curiosity Shop" and "Barnaby Rudge "), the "American Notes," ," "Martin Chuzzlewit," the "Christmas Carol" (other Christmas stories followed later), "Notes from Italy," ," "Dombey and Son," "David Copperfield," "Bleak House," "Hard Times," 'Little Dorrit," "Great Expectations," "A Tale of Two Cities," "Our Mutual Friend," and the unfinished "Edwin Drood." Several of these, and his "Uncommercial Traveller" papers, appeared in All the Year Round, which he edited. He died June 9, 1870.]


MADAME DEFARGE, with her arms folded, sat in the morning light and heat, contemplating the wine shop and the street. In both, there were several knots of loungers, squalid and miserable, but now with a manifest sense of power enthroned on their distress. The raggedest nightcap, awry on the wretchedest head, had this crooked significance in it: "I know how hard it has grown for me, the wearer of this, to support life in myself; but do you know how easy it has grown for me, the wearer of this, to destroy life in you?" Every lean bare arm, that had been without work before, had this work always ready for it now, that it could strike. The fingers of the knitting women were vicious, with the experience that they could tear.

Madame Defarge sat observing it, with such suppressed approval as was to be desired in the leader of the Saint Antoine women. One of her sisterhood knitted beside her. The short, rather plump wife of a starved grocer, and the mother of two children withal, this lieutenant had already earned the complimentary name of The Vengeance.

"Hark!" said The Vengeance.


"Listen then! Who

As if a train of powder laid from the outermost bound of

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