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A Tale of Two Cities
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This is the glossary for A Tale of Two Cities. This is not a non spoiler thread so any urls and/or expansive discussion can take place here regarding this book. Additionally, this is the spot to add that additional information that may contain spoilers or any helpful urls, links, etc.

This thread is not to be used for self promotion.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens by Charles DickensCharles Dickens

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Remember if citing books or authors; use the citation rules.

For any book aside from A Tale of Two Cities, you must cite the book cover, the author's photo and the author's link. Here is an example:

Bleak House by Charles Dickens by Charles DickensCharles Dickens

If you are just citing an author, you must add the author's photo if available and always the author's link.

Here is an example:

Charles DickensCharles Dickens

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French Revolution

The French Revolution (French: Révolution française; 1789–1799), was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a major impact on France and indeed all of Europe.

The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from radical left-wing political groups, masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside.

Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy - of monarchy, aristocracy and religious authority - were abruptly overthrown by new Enlightenment principles of equality, citizenship and inalienable rights.
History of France

The French Revolution began in 1789 with the convocation of the Estates-General in May. The first year of the Revolution saw members of the Third Estate proclaiming the Tennis Court Oath in June, the assault on the Bastille in July, the passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August, and an epic march on Versailles that forced the royal court back to Paris in October. The next few years were dominated by tensions between various liberal assemblies and a right-wing monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.

A republic was proclaimed in September 1792 and King Louis XVI was executed the next year. External threats also played a dominant role in the development of the Revolution. The French Revolutionary Wars started in 1792 and ultimately featured spectacular French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had defied previous French governments for centuries.

Internally, popular sentiments radicalized the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins and virtual dictatorship by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror from 1793 until 1794 during which between 16,000 and 40,000 people were killed.

After the fall of the Jacobins and the execution of Robespierre, the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795 and held power until 1799, when it was replaced by the Consulate under Napoleon Bonaparte.

After the Napoleonic Wars and ensuing rise and fall of Napoleon's First French Empire, a restoration of absolutist monarchy was followed by two further successful smaller revolutions (1830 and 1848).

This meant the 19th century and process of modern France taking shape saw France again successively governed by a similar cycle of constitutional monarchy (1830–48), fragile republic (Second Republic) (1848–1852), and empire (Second Empire) (1852–1870).

The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. The growth of republics and liberal democracies, the spread of secularism, the development of modern ideologies and the invention of total war all mark their birth during the Revolution.

See remainder of article on Wikipedia:

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 1 The Period

"... a king with a large jaw..." - King George III

George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738[1] – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire until his promotion to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two Hanoverian predecessors he was born in Britain, spoke English as his first language,[2] and never visited Hanover.[3]
His life and reign, which were longer than those of any previous British monarch, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, and places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of its American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence. He played a minor role in the wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793, which concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
In the later part of his life, George III suffered from recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. Medical practitioners were baffled by this at the time, although it has since been suggested that he suffered from the blood disease porphyria. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established, and George III's eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent. On George III's death, the Prince Regent succeeded his father as George IV.
Historical analysis of George III's life has gone through a "kaleidoscope of changing views" that have depended heavily on the prejudices of his biographers and the sources available to them.[4] Until re-assessment in the later half of the twentieth century, his reputation in America was one of a tyrant and in Britain he became "the scapegoat for the failure of imperialism".[5] He is often remembered as "The Mad King" and "The King Who Lost America".[6]

READ MORE AT WIKIPEDIA: George III of the United Kingdom

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments "...a queen with a plain face..." - Queen Charlotte

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (19 May 1744 – 17 November 1818) was the Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III. She was also the electress consort of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until the promotion of her husband to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, which made her Queen consort of Hanover.
Queen Charlotte was a patroness of the arts, known to Johann Christian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, among others. She was also an amateur botanist who helped expand Kew Gardens. George III and Charlotte had 15 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood.

Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments "... a King with a large jaw..." - Louis XVI

Louis XVI (23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793) was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793.

Succeeding Louis XV, his unpopular grandfather, Louis XVI actively supported the Americans, who were seeking their independence from Great Britain, which was realized in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The example of the American Revolution and the financial crisis which followed France's involvement in the war were two of the many contributing factors to the French Revolution, which abolished the absolute monarchy in France, “absolute” in the sense of legislative self-sufficiency,[1] and proclaimed a constitutional monarchy in 1791.

While Louis XVI, as a constitutional king, enjoyed broad popularity among the population, his indecisiveness and conservatism led some elements of the people of France eventually to view him as a symbol of the perceived tyranny of the Ancien Régime, and his popularity deteriorated progressively. His disastrous flight to Varennes seemed to justify the rumors that the king tied his hopes of political salvation to the dubious prospects of foreign invasion. The credibility of the king was deeply undermined and the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic became an ever increasing possibility.

Suspended and arrested as part of the insurrection of 10 August 1792, he was tried by the National Convention, found guilty of high treason, and executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793 as a desacralized French citizen known as "Citoyen Louis Capet", a nickname in reference to Hugh Capet, the founder of the Capetian dynasty – which the revolutionaries interpreted as Louis' family name. In the meantime, the French Republic had been proclaimed the 22 September 1792, bringing to an end more than a thousand years of continuous French monarchy. Louis XVI is the only King of France ever to be executed.


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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments "a queen with a fair face" Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette ( /məˈriː æntwəˈnɛt/ or /æntwɑːˈnɛt/; French pronunciation: [maʁi ɑ̃twanɛt]; baptised Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna (or Maria Antonia Josephina Johanna[1]); 2 November 1755 – 16 October 1793) was an Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of France and of Navarre. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I.

In April 1770, on the day of her marriage to Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, she subsequently became Dauphine of France. Marie Antoinette assumed the title of Queen of France and of Navarre when her husband, Louis XVI of France, ascended the throne upon the death of Louis XV in May 1774. After seven years of marriage, she gave birth to a daughter, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, the first of four children.

Initially charmed by her personality and beauty, the French people generally came to dislike her, accusing "L'Autre-chienne" (a pun in French playing with the words "Autrichienne" meaning Austrian (woman) and "Autre-chienne" meaning Other bitch) of being profligate and promiscuous,[2] and of harboring sympathies for France's enemies, particularly Austria, her country of origin.[3]
After the royal family's flight to Varennes, Louis XVI was deposed and the monarchy abolished on 21 September 1792; the royal family was subsequently imprisoned at the Temple Prison. Nine months after her husband's execution, Marie Antoinette was herself tried, convicted of treason, and executed by guillotine on 16 October 1793.

Even after her death, Marie Antoinette is often considered to be a part of popular culture and a major historical figure,[4] being the subject of several books, films and other forms of media. Some academics and scholars have deemed her frivolous and superficial, and have attributed the start of the French Revolution to her; however, others have claimed that she was treated unjustly and that views of her ought be more sympathetic.[5][6][7]



Also, The Stanford Community Reading Project
has some excellent graphics "from the Artist’s Edition of Carlyle’s French Revolution (1893)" showing the 'king with a large jaw' and the 'queen with fair face' of France." - scroll down a bit -

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Mrs. Southcott A famous "seer" or future-teller of Dickens' time.

Joanna Southcott (or Southcote) (April, 1750 – 27 December 1814), was a self-described religious prophetess. She was born at Gittisham in Devon, England.

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Cock Lane: A 19th-century illustration of Cock Lane. The haunting took place in the three-storey building on the right.


The Cock Lane ghost attracted mass public attention in 18th-century England. In 1762 an apartment in Cock Lane, a short road adjacent to London's Smithfield market and a few minutes' walk from St Paul's Cathedral, was the site of a reported haunting centred around three people: William Kent, a usurer from Norfolk, Richard Parsons, a parish clerk, and Parsons' daughter Elizabeth.

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments "... a certain moveable frame with a knife and a sack in it." (the guillotine)

The guillotine (English pronunciation: /ˈɡɪlətiːn/ or /ˈɡiː.ətiːn/; French: [ɡijɔtin]) is a device used for carrying out executions by decapitation. It consists of a tall upright frame from which an angled blade is suspended. This blade is raised with a rope and then allowed to drop, severing the head from the body. The device is noted for long being the main method of execution in France and, more particularly, for its use during the French Revolution, when it "became a part of popular culture, celebrated as the people's avenger by supporters of the Revolution and vilified as the pre-eminent symbol of the Reign of Terror by opponents."[1] Nevertheless, the guillotine continued to be used long after the French Revolution in several countries, including France, where it was the sole method of execution until the abolition of capital punishment in 1981.


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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments So that's it for Chapter 1 and now maybe it's time to talk about the book as a whole, the research and publication. Published in 1859, A Tale of Two Cities is considered a classic and one of the most famous in the history of fiction.

It was originally published in serial format, with 31 installments, between April and November of 1859. The publication was "All The Year Round, A Weekly Journal conducted by Charles Dickens."

All the Year Round

To flip through the original handwritten manuscript visit The Victoria and Albert Museum

The play, The Frozen Deep, by Wilkie Collins (and Dickens) was an important inspiration for Dickens as well as The French Revolution: A History by Thomas Carlyle. Dickens read the latter work, a very passionate history of the French Revolution, numerous times and consulted the works Carlyle suggested.

The French Revolution started in 1789 and continued for about 10 years so Dickens had to do some research - and he did extensive research.

The Frozen Deep (Hesperus Classics) by Wilkie Collins by Wilkie CollinsWilkie Collins

The French Revolution A History (Modern Library Classics) by Thomas Carlyle by Thomas CarlyleThomas Carlyle.

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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
Some great posts and information Becky, good job (smile)

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments The original illustrations were drawn by
Hablot Knight Browne Hablot Knight Browne

In his professional work he was known as "Phiz. There have been other famous illustrators who worked on various editions of the book. These are two of Phiz' pictures - both from Wikipedia.

The picture below is "The Sea Rises," done as an Illustration for A Tale of Two Cities. Book II, Chapter 22. All the Year Round (October 1859).

To see all of the illustrations Phiz did for the serialized version of the book, see: Illustrations by Phiz for A Tale of Two Cities (1859) at Victorian Web.

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Bentley wrote: "Some great posts and information Becky, good job (smile)"

Thank you, muchly! I love doing this stuff. It's a new format and that's kind of tricky but ...

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 2- The Mail
The Mail

Original drawing for Chapter 2 by Hablot Knight BrowneHablot Knight Browne


Shooter's Hill - The Dover road, 70.75 miles long, ran from London Bridge (on the Surrey side of the Thames River) to Dover (Harper, “The Road to Dover”). Shooter’s Hill, 8.25 miles along the Dover Road from London Bridge

"Shooter’s Hill was not always a place whereon one could rest in safety. Indeed, it bore for long years a particularly bad name as being the lurking-place of ferocious footpads, cutpurses, highwaymen, cut-throats, and gentry of allied professions who rushed out from [the] leafy coverts and took liberal toll from wayfarers…" According to Charles Harper, in his account of The Dover Road (1922),The Dover road: annals of an ancient turnpike by Charles George Harper (links only - no images for book or author)


Blackheath was another notoriously dangerous road spot.


A blunderbuss" is an 18th century weapon



Tellson's Bank - fictional but Dickens used the very old and prestigious bank of Child & Co. (1 Fleet Street, London) as the model for Tellson's bank.


Temple Bar


Nation is short slang for "damnation."

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On message 15, Becky show the image rather than the link please of The Mail.

Thanks. Always show images of any kind.

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Images of course but I couldn't find it before - I looked harder - lol - checked every one of Phiz' sketches over at Wiki.

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 4 - The Preparation

The head drawer is the head barman - the man who pours the liquor.

The Royal George Hotel in Dover is an invention of the author, but it was based on a The Ship Hotel in Dover hotel where he stayed when he traveled to France.

"" height="250" width="250">

The Concord was the name of room given to Jarvis.

The original hotel burned down a few years after A Tale of Two Cities was published.

From the Book 1, Chapter 2: "…like a breath along the surface of the gaunt pier-glass behind her..."

< img src="" width="198" height="301" alt="Pier Glass Mirror">

"A pier glass is a "large tall mirror; orig[inally] one fitted to fill up the pier or space between two windows, or over a chimney-piece”. Sanders (in his Companion to A Tale of Two Cities) glosses the “hospital procession” of figures on the frame of this glass as reminiscent, for Dickens, of a group of charity children walking out of a hospital – a “charitable educational establishment” (42). The figures are “negro” because the material in which they are carved is black; and thus the “baskets of Dead-Sea fruit” and “divinities of the feminine gender” are also black. The biblical Dead-Sea fruit, or the “apples of Sodom,” are “described by Josephus as of fair appearance externally, but dissolving, when grasped, into smoke and ashes”. This smoke-and-ashes composition probably accounts – as a further riff on the black or blackened appearance of everything on the frame – for Dickens’ description of the fruits on the pier-glass as Dead-Sea fruits."

From the Book 1, Chapter 2: "... the privilege of filling up blank forms for the consignment of any one to the oblivion of a prison for any length of time;...:

These blank forms were known as "Lettres de cachet"

"The best-known lettres de cachet were penal and by which a subject was sentenced without trial and without an opportunity of defense to imprisonment in a state prison or an ordinary jail... The wealthy sometimes bought such lettres to dispose of unwanted individuals.
"In this respect, the lettres de cachet were a prominent symbol of the abuses of the ancien régime monarchy, and as such were suppressed during the French Revolution." From:

"... a great Stilton Cheese"


The Companion to a Tale of Two Cities by Andrew Sanders The Companion to a Tale of Two Cities by Andrew Sanders (no photo)

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 5 - The Wine Shop

Wine shops were popular social gathering places in the poorer districts of eighteenth century Paris, and thus were natural centers of political ferment.


From the book: "...narrow street in the suburb of Saint Antoine..."

St. Antoine is a poor and crowded district near the Bastille, a slum really. It was a hotbed of the Revolution and acquired a reputation for radical fervor until after Napoleon's remodeling of the city.


Dickens seems to have based his character of Monsieur Defarge on Claude Cholate, mentioned in "The French Revolution: A History" by Thomas Carlyle. Cholate was one of more than twenty wine-shop proprietors to participate in the storming of the Bastille.

From notes in Gillen D'Arcy Wood's "Endnotes" in A Tale of Two Cities Barnes & Noble Classics edition.

The French Revolution A History (Modern Library Classics) by Thomas Carlyle by Thomas Carlyle Thomas Carlyle

Mandy Great stuff Becky! The book is turning out better than I coud have imagined but the information you are putting out gives it an extra dimension. Well Done

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Thank you, Mandy! :-)

I plan on going on a chapter-by-chapter basis for this so if you or anyone is looking for something specific it can hopefully be found fairly quickly (if it's here).

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Book I, Chapter 6: The Shoemaker

The illustration below is "The Shoemaker" by Phiz

Dr. Manette's "name": "One Hundred and Five, North Tower," was his cell number at the Bastille. The description of the Bastille comes primarily from "The French Revolution: A History" by Thomas Carlyle, but the North Tower is likely based on "The Marchioness of Brinvilliers, the Poisoner of the Seventeenth Century. a Romance of Old Paris" by Albert Richard Smith

The Bastille was a very old building dating to the 14th century. These pictures are from prior to its destruction. Below is a picture from the book
Historische Gedichte: Fr Schule Und Haus Ausgewhlt by Friedrich Polack, originally published in 1897.

Here's a drawing of the Bastille and the Porte Saint-Antoine, seen from the east - by J.B. Lallemand in 1789.

" Defarge gave the words, 'To the Barrier!'
The barriors were located at the northern edge of Paris near St. Denis and La VIllette. They were used to collect import duties on goods which had arrived at the ports further north.


The French Revolution A History by Thomas Carlyle by Thomas CarlyleThomas Carlyle

The Marchioness of Brinvilliers, the Poisoner of the Seventeenth Century. a Romance of Old Paris. by Albert Richard Smith by Albert Richard Smith (no image)

Historische Gedichte Fr Schule Und Haus Ausgewhlt by Friedrich Polack by Friedrich Polack (no image)

☯Emily Thanks for posting all these items. I just finished the first book and it looks like you covered all aspects of the chapters thoroughly.

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Thank you, Emily - a labor of love. :-)

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Book the Second - The Golden Thread
Chapter 1 - Five Years Later

“... a shower-bath of mud from Fleet-street...”

“their own iron bars proper” - unpainted

"Noakes and Co’s: " “Noakes” was the generic name used in England for parties to any legal case similar to the one Percy Noakes filed in an early story by Dickens published in "Sketches by Boz,"

Your plate was stowed away..." - gold and silver ornaments and utensils.

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Book the Second - The Golden Thread
Chapter 1 - Five Years Later


"... (windows) made dingier by their own iron bars proper." - proper here means unpainted -

"... a Barmecide room, that always had a giant dining table in it and never had a dinner"
The word "Barmecide" is from The Arabian Nights which Dickens read as a child, and references to that book are frequent in his fiction. Here he alludes to a story which includes a wealthy household hosting an imaginary feast.

"... in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty ... by the heads exposed on Temple Bar."
After the 1770s, the heads of executed criminals were no longer on display at Temple Bar, but most of Dickens' readers would have known the reference.

"... insensate brutality and ferocity worthy of Abyssinia or Ashantee..." African kingdoms of Abyssinia ( Ethiopia) and Ashanti (Ghana). An English consul was murdered in Abyssinia in 1860. The English army fought the Ashanti and the skull of British governor Sir Charles McCarthy served as a drinking cup in the Ashanti court.

"Death is nature's remedy for all things... the forger … ; the utterer of a bad note … ; the unlawful opener of a letter …; the purloiner of forty shillings and sixpence … ; the holder of a horse...the coiner of a bad shilling..."
These crimes were among over two hundred capital crimes on the books and that number was not reduced until the early 19th century. Forty shillings and sixpence is just over 2 pounds (£) and is a trifle considering the penalty involved; similarly, a “bad shilling” would be the counterfeit equivalent of 1/20 of an English pound.

"Dickens’ representation of the absurd rate of execution in London is especially appropriate to the period he represents. In the 1780s (this part of the novel takes place in 1780) the number of convictions and executions in London reached a record high. Five times as many people were convicted in the second half of the 18th century as in the first, and England was more severe than its European neighbors: Between 1774 and 1777, 139 people were executed in London, compared to 32 in Paris; and in the 1780s, the average number of annual executions in London rose from 48 (in the 1770s) to 70, convicts “dang[ling] outside Newgate prison up to 20 at a time, a sight unknown elsewhere”. The death toll did not fall considerably until reforms beginning in the 1820s limited the number of capital crimes. Thus, Dickens’ representation of English brutality in the 18th century – and the implicit contrast he draws to the brutality of the French – is well substantiated by statistics from the period. Indeed, the French look clement in comparison."

"...casting his breeches and gaiters into the general weight of the establishment".
(The short trousers are the breeches and the stockings are the gaiters. Wealthy men often switched to trousers later than other men. Below the men on the left are wearing breeches and gaiters while the man seated on the right is wearing trousers.

"... the youthful occasion of his renouncing by proxy the works of darkness,"
* In the Anglican Church baptismal ceremony the baptized "renounce the devil..." by proxy; their godparents do it for them.

" the easterly parish church of Houndsditch..." Houndsditch was a poor quarter of London which got it's name from being a disposal site for dead dogs.

" Mr. Cruncher's private lodging in Hanging-sword-alley..." South of Fleet Street - originally known as "Blood-bowl Alley."

a patchwork counterpane, like a Harlequin at home. a patchwork quilt with a long diamond pattern -


The Thousand and One Nights Commonly Called, in England, The Arabian Nights' Entertainments, Volume I by Anonymous Anonymous

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Book the Second - The Golden Thread
Chapter 1 - Five Years Later


Anno Domini - Anna Dominoes (an example of Dickens' humor)

“Aggerawayter,” is probably Cruncher's version of “Aggravator,” since he believes that her “flopping” – her praying – has been interfering with his business as an “honest tradesman.”

"choused" - cheated

"flopping" - pentecostal-type prayer

“hackney-coach" a horse-drawn taxi (see below)

laudanum - a mix of alcohol and opium - addictive but very popular, consider the name ... "laud..." praise

"sleeping closet" - a small private bedroom directly off a main room - had become common by 1800s.

three-cornered hat The three-cornered hat was the typical head-dress for men until the late 18th century, and Planché attributes its demise to the French Revolution:

"reversionary interest" - inherited right

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Book the Second - The Golden Thread
Chapter 2 - A Sight

" ' You know Old Bailey, well, no doubt?'"
Old Bailey was the old criminal court of England and Wales. It stands on the site of the old Newgate Prison - named for the Road and the fortified wall which run alongside it. The Old Bailey still serves, in name at least, as London’s central criminal court, but it was rebuilt in 1809 and again in the early 20th century.

“That’s quartering. ... Barbarous!”
This punishment for treason, which dates from the thirteenth century , involved hanging the prisoner and cutting him down while still alive, then removing his bowels and burning them before his eyes, followed by decapitation, and then the slicing of the body into four quarters. Jerry Cruncher’s reaction seems to anticipate the penal reforms of the 1820s, when such punishments were abandoned (quartering was abolished in 1870) and the number of capital offenses drastically reduced.

" 'It's hard in the law to spile a man.' "
spill him - "Tapping a man's stomach" to let certain things out as part of the "Hung, drawn and quartered routine. Use the definition of Spile as relating to a keg and substitute a person. The term is used in the chapter referring to and describing HDQ.

"They hanged at Tyburn"
Tyburn, near what is now known as Marble Arch in Hyde Park, London, was a site of public execution until 1783, when this dubious distinction was shifted to the street outside Newgate Prison itself. Dickens himself witnessed hangings at Newgate (see the Introduction, page xiv). T yburn enjoys literary celebrity , too, as the scene of the hero’s eleventh-hour rescue in Henry Fielding’s novel T om Jones.

"... the gaol was a vile place ... "
Dire diseases were bred there, gaol fever, later identified as typhus, killed judges, lawyers, and the Lord Mayor in 1750. After another deadly outbreak in 1772 reforms were undertaken to improve sanitary conditions, at least near the courtroom; these included the sprinkling of herbs and vinegar, referred to in the chapter.

"the pillory"
The pillory (or stocks), a wooden frame with holes for locking in the head and hands, was used as a common punishment in London until 1830. The prisoner stood in stocks in the street for a specified period of time, an open target for any missiles directed at him by the public; shocking injuries could be suffered in a very short time while in the pillory , and deaths were not unknown.

a “reward for bringing about the death of another; money paid to a witness who gives evidence leading to the conviction of a person upon a capital charge” (OED).

“Whatever is, is right”
see Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man (1734), “One truth is clear, ‘Whatever is, is right’ ” (epistle 1, lines 293-294).

"...people then paid to see the play at the Old Bailey, just as they paid to see the play in Bedlam"
Bedlam - short for Bethlehem Royal Hospital, for lunatics where the public could watch for a fee (discontinued in 1770).

"...his hair, which was long and dark, was gathered in a ribbon at the back of his neck."

In the late 18th century, men’s hair was worn long, often powdered, and usually tied back, often with a ribbon, into a pigtail. Wigs, simulating elaborately-dressed long hair, were also worn. Not everyone wore wigs, of course – the poorer classes did not. Darnay's hair is “real," of decent appearance and the customary length but he but does not participate in the vogues of the very wealthy.

"...revealing to the said French Lewis what forces our said serene, illustrious, excellent, and so forth, had in preparation to send to Canada and North America."
Darnay was basically charged with revealing to Louis XVI the plans of King George re the American Revolution - 1775 - 1783

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Book the Second - The Golden Thread
Chapter 3 - Disappointment

most honourable Privy Council:
The Privy Council was a council of close advisers appointed by the British monarch; it later became the name for the highest court of appeal.

That Virtue, as had been observed by the poets ... especially the bright virtue known as patriotism
Patriotism was a favorite theme of eighteenth-century poets such as James Thomson and William Cowper, although Dr. Johnson supposedly called patriotism “the last refuge of a scoundrel” (see James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791 .

"... a buzz arose in the court as if a cloud of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in anticipation of what he was soon to become..."

The crowd of people excited and chattering (buzzing?) about the idea of an execution, thirsty for blood.

"... that garrison-and-dockyard town:
Chatham, England - Dickens' boyhood home.

"The Likeness" by Phiz.
Illustration to Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. Book II, Chapter 3. All the Year Round (July, 85); issued 4 June.

MORE: Darnay’s trial in A Tale of Two Cities, is based on the trial of Francis Henry de la Motte. De la Motte, a French baron residing in England because of pecuniary difficulties, was charged with treason; his trial is reported in the 1781 Annual Register (of which we know Dickens possessed a copy) and State Trials (which he also consulted). The connection between Darnay’s trial and de la Motte’s was first identified by James Fitzjames Stephen in a hostile review of A Tale of Two Cities in the Saturday Review, December 17, 1859.çois...

The American edition
in Harper's Weekly was illustrated by John McLenan. The sketch below was in the June 11, 1859 edition. It depicts Sidney Carton looking up during the trial.

message 31: by Becky (last edited Feb 16, 2012 07:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Ellen Ternan at age 18 in 1857. Dickens met Ternan when he was 45 and working on the play "The Frozen Deep" with Wilkie Collins. Dickens cast Ellen, her mother and sister in the play. He started work on "A Tale of Two Cities" shortly afterward. Dickens and Ternan were romantically involved from that time until her death.

To me Ternan seems to look a lot like Lucie Manette is described.


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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
Yes, his new heroine in real life and in fiction.

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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
How timely of the Queen:

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip celebrate Dickens 200 years with play, reception

Charles Dickens 200 years: Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall fete Dickens


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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Thanks Bentley! Very interesting.

Dickens was loved then and now. The picture below was originally a watercolor painted by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes very shortly after Dickens' death in early June, 1870. In the same month a sketch of the painting was made by F.G. Kitton who illustrated the last of Dickens' books.

This tribute to Charles Dickens appeared in The Graphic in the issue of 9 June 1870.

(But that's the day he died!) - ???

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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
Scott, thank you for that add; there are distinct similarities.

However, you must cite the book with the book cover (you have that), the author's photo if available and the author's link. I know that I and the other moderators have told you the requirements many, many times.

We have also provided the link to the Mechanics of the Board thread which would be able to help you out too. What issues are you having in doing it properly. Is there something we can help you with. We are here to help you but the citation rule is not optional and we delete the messages of folks who do not even try to edit their posts after repeated reminders. We are here to help you but we cannot allow the rules and guidelines simply to be ignored without either asking for some assistance and/or trying to get it right. Leaving it as is and not bothering time and time again is not a good option. If you need assistance, please contact me or one of the other mods and let us help answer any questions that you might have and help you learn how better to use goodreads and the html features. We would love to help you and with practice you would get the hang of this in no time.

The American Evangelical Story A History of the Movement by Douglas A. Sweeney by Douglas A. Sweeney (no photo)

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 4: Congratulatory

Mr Lorry: "Chair there!"
The kind of “chair” that Mr. Lorry hires is a “light vehicle drawn by one horse” often called a “chaise” (Oxford English Dictionary).

After the verdict:

"a long winding-sheet in the candle:
the curl of melted wax around the stem of a tallow candle, a folkloric omen of death. Foreshadowing

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Book 2 Chapter 5: The Jackal

Court of Kings Bench :
The King’s Bench, a bankruptcy court and sometimes known as bankruptcy prison. It was not uncommon for respectable middle class people to spend time on the King's Bench.

Sydney Carton :
Dickens originally chose “Dick” as Carton’s Christian name, but that sounded too much like one of the author's nicknames. Dick was also the name of a principal character in The Frozen Deep (1857), a melodrama coauthored by Dickins and Wilkie Collins, which Dickens acknowledges in the Preface of A Tale of Two Cities; Dickens himself played the part in an amateur production.

The Frozen Deep (Hesperus Classics) by Wilkie Collins by Wilkie CollinsWilkie Collins


"... between Hilary Term and Michaelmas
that is, between January (Hilary Term) and September 29 (Michaelmas), broken only by Easter and the summer furlough, called “long vacation.”


"... twice pacing the pavements of Kings Bench-walk and Paper-buildings..." King’s Bench-walk is a long walkway in the Inner Temple, the heart of London’s legal district; the Paper Buildings, in the northeast corner of the Inner Temple, are named for their method of construction, known as “paperwork,” which uses timber, lath, and plaster.

" He [Stryver] had that rather wild, strained, seared marking about the eyes, which may be observed in all free livers of his class, from the portrait of Jeffries downward, and which can be traced, under various disguises of Art, through the portraits of every Drinking Age."

A portrait of Jeffries (although there are many others)

Apparently Stryvers and George Jeffreys (1645?-1689) were both drunks. Jeffreys was the notorious drunken hanging judge who, after the Monmouth Rebellion, had hundreds of rebels executed. They were expecting a much more lenient sentence. Their cause remained a rallying cry for generations. In his book, A Child’s History of England (1854), Dickens compares England under James II and the French Reign of Terror, “You will hear much of the horrors of the great French Revolution. Many and terrible they were, there is no doubt; but I know of nothing worse, done by the maddened people of France in that awful time, than was done by the highest judge in England, with the express approval of the King of England, in The Bloody Assize.”
A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens by Charles DickensCharles Dickens

old Shrewsbury School
an old and highly prestigious English public school which emphasizes classical instruction. To Dickens, Latin and Greek were irrelevant to the times and the drunk and underachieving Carton shows they don't do much for a man. Meanwhile, Charles Darnay teaches modern languages so that shows him to be practical and progressive, a man of the new Europe.

Student-Quarter of Paris: Better known as the Latin Quarter because of it's medieval connections to church universities.
In Dickens' day, the area was still somewhat medieval in character, but was being transformed into the prestigious left bank we know today.

message 38: by Becky (last edited Mar 01, 2012 07:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments I had no idea! Tonight just surfing around I found that Dickens was

"... often described and presented as a smooth-faced, attractive, long-haired individual with a liking for gaudy and fashionable clothes. As Lilia Melani has written: 'The young Dickens was very good-looking and often described as pretty or delicate; he was something of a fop with his flashy waistcoats, jewellery, and flowing long hair' ".

But he did not age well -

Dickens at age 18 (1830)

[image error]

Catherine Hogarth, whom he married in 1836 - age 24 (I don't know when it was taken)

Here he is at 30 (1842) - about the time he and his wife traveled to the US -

And at age 38 (1850)

At age 45 (1858) about the time Tale of Two Cities was being published and a year or so after he met Ellen Ternan.

The picture from Goodreads is from when he was about 46 (1858)-

Charles Dickens

message 39: by Becky (last edited Feb 22, 2012 10:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments A Tale of Two Cities is Dickens' best-selling novel. Since its inaugural publication in 1859, the novel has sold over 200 million copies, and is among the most famous works of fiction.

Charles Dickens had, as a contemporary critic put it, a "queer name".[71] The name Dickens was used in interjective exclamations like "What the Dickens!" as a substitute for "devil". It was also used in the phrase "to play the Dickens" in the meaning "to play havoc/mischief".[72]

'Boz' was Dickens's occasional pen-name, but was a familiar name in the Dickens household long before Charles became a famous author. It was actually taken from his youngest brother Augustus Dickens' family nickname 'Moses'. When playfully pronounced through the nose 'Moses' became 'Boses', and was later shortened to 'Boz' – pronounced through the nose with a long vowel'o'.[73]

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments This is a cool map - Click on the place and you go to a number of resources about it.

Temple Bar is at map location C7.
1 Fleet St. (Tellson's Bank) is at map location C8.

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Dickens wrote about his characters for A Tale of Two Cities in a letter to John Forster, biographer and friend of Dickens:

"I set myself the little task of making a picturesque story, rising in every chapter with the characters true to nature, but whom the story itself should express, more than they should express themselves, by dialogue. I mean, in other words, that I fancied that a story of incident might be written, in place of the odious stuff that is written under that pretence, pounding the characters out of its own mortar, and beating their own interests out of them. If you could have read the story all at once, I hope you wouldn’t have stopped halfway."

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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
Excellent letter Becky.

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 6 "Hundreds of People"


"The area where Soho is located is bounded by Oxford Street to the north, Regent Street to the west, Shaftesbury Avenue to the south and Charing Cross Road to the east. To the west of Soho is Mayfair, to the north Fitzrovia, to the east Holborn and Covent Garden, and to the south St James's. Chinatown and the area around Leicester Square can also be considered as either just inside or just outside the southern edge of Soho.

"Soho was grazing farmland until 1536, when it was taken by King Henry VIII to be turned into a royal park for the Palace of Whitehall. The name Soho first appears in the 17th century. It is believed that it was an old hunting call, as in "Soho! There goes the fox!" On the other hand, it may also be a short form for South Holborn. Holborn itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon word holbourne which means "deep brook", referring to a stream that used to flow near where High Holborn and its continuation, Oxford Street are today.

"By the mid 1800s all respectable families that lived in Soho had moved away while prostitutes, music halls and small theatres moved in. In the early 1900s a number of foreign nationals opened cheap eating-houses. Soon it became a favourite haunt for intellectuals, writers and artists. It is said that the pubs of Soho are often packed with drunken writers, poets and artists - many never staying sober long enough to be successful."

" … she had acquired such wonderful arts, that the woman and girl who formed the staff of domestics regarded her as quite a Sorceress, or Cinderella's Godmother: who would send out for a fowl, a rabbit, a vegetable or two from the garden, and change them into anything she pleased.

An allusion to the story of Cinderella -


"... in her own room on the second floor—a blue chamber, to which no one but her Ladybird ever gained admittance."

Blue chamber as in Blue Beard's private place?

"... after dinner, Lucie proposed that the wine should be carried out under the plane-tree..."

Under the plane tree

A London Planetree (plantanus)


Miss Pross has - "... a fit of the jerks."
Possibly a very mild epilepsy? Early Parkinson's?


Darnay asks, "... have you seen much of the Tower?"

The year 1780 saw the last hangings to take place on Tower Hill - the place was changed.


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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
Great glossary add Becky. Great job.

message 45: by Scott (new) - added it

Scott | 134 comments Becky wrote: "Dickens wrote about his characters for A Tale of Two Cities in a letter to John Forster, biographer and friend of Dickens:

"I set myself the little task of making a picturesque story, rising in e..."

Is Dickens saying that he wishes to use the conversations of the individual characters in a larger historical and social context.
Does 'that odious stuff' refer to what Dickens considers more superficial literature?
I still have trouble translating Victorian English.

message 46: by Scott (last edited Feb 24, 2012 11:41AM) (new) - added it

Scott | 134 comments Becky wrote: " Book 2 Chapter 5: The Jackal

Court of Kings Bench : The King’s Bench, a bankruptcy court and sometimes known as bankruptcy prison. It was not uncommon for respectable middle class people to s..."

Becky wrote: " Book 2 Chapter 5: The Jackal

While Jefferies and Stryker could be described as highly functional alcoholics, Carton hardly functions at all. What separates Carton from the other two alcoholics?

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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
Scott in message 46 you have that italics thing going on and it is unreadable.

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 7

"... his morning’s chocolate could not so much as get into the throat of Monseigneur, without the aid of four strong men besides the Cook."

"This scene is likely based on John Sebastien Mercer's accounts which are generally considered reliable. Louis Sebastien Mercer was a moderate during the French Revolution and as a member of the Convention, he voted against the death penalty for Louis XVI. During the Reign of Terror, he was imprisoned, but he was released after the fall of Robespierre, whom he termed a "Sanguinocrat" (bloody democrat, more or less)."é...

"In 1643, when the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa was betrothed to Louis XIV of France, she gave her fiancé an engagement gift of chocolate, packaged in an elegantly ornate chest. Marie Antoinette had her own chocolatier. Chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac flourished in the French courts. "

At the time, chocolate was very expensive in Europe because the cacao beans only grew in South America.[12]
Sweet-tasting hot chocolate was then invented, leading hot chocolate to become a luxury item among the European nobility by the 17th century.[6


"Monseigneur had been out at a little supper last night, where the Comedy and the Grand Opera were charmingly represented."

The foyer of Charles Garnier's Opéra, Paris, opened 1875

The Salle Le Peletier, home of the Paris Opera during the middle of the 19th century

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapter 7 continued
"A sumptuous man was the Farmer-General." The position of Farmer-General was that of a major tax collector who harvested tax monies from the peasants, This was an extremely lucrative and powerful position usually bid on and paid for by a wealthy person who then made more money from his collections.é...

" ... members of a fantastic sect of Convulsionists..."

The Convulsionists were a group of religious enthusiasts in France (“les convulsionaires”), so-called for the “convulsions” they performed under divine inspiration. During the reign of Louis XV, they occupied a prominent place in fashionable and aristocratic circles. Dickens’ source for the “Convulsionists” is Mercier’s Tableau de Paris (1781-8), where they are described in a chapter called “Amour du Merveilleux” (“Love of the Marvelous”). Catalepsy – one of the symptoms attributed to Dickens’ Convulsionists – is a disease characterized by seizure and prolonged unconsciousness, described in the Dictionary of Daily Wants (1859).


Tuileries Palace

before 1871, view from the Louvre courtyard


"Dress was the one unfailing talisman and charm used for keeping all things in their places."

Below, a 1759 portrait of Madame de Pompadour shows her petticoat trimmed with flounces to match her gown. She wears a small lace ruff around her neck.

Below, Marie Antoinette wears panniers, a requirement of court fashion for the most formal state occasions, 1778

"... swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of its wheels came to a sickening little jolt..."

"The Fountain" by Phiz

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Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1220 comments Chapters 8 and 9
" ...Gabelle was the Postmaster, and some other taxing functionary..."

"Postmaster" was not an aristocratic or wealthy position - just a regular post office clerk - a "functionary." For instance, Jean-Baptiste Drouet worked as a postmaster with his father but during the Revolution was the person who arrested King Louis XVI. Later he was one of the more violent members of the National Convention.

"... Monseigneur, again escorted by the Furies... "
"The Furies are avenging goddesses in Classical mythology, usually represented with “snakes twined in their hair, sent from Tartarus to avenge wrong and punish crime” (OED). In some accounts, there are three Furies, identified as Tisiphone, Megæra, and Alecto. The Marquis’ postilions resemble the Furies because their whips lash above their heads like snakes."

"The Gorgon Head"
The Gorgon, in Greek mythology, is “[o]ne of three mythical female personages, with snakes for hair, whose look turned the beholder into stone

flambeau preceded..." a torch for lighting the way - no electricity here, they used candles and torches, oil lamps etc.

"Up the broad flight of shallow steps..." and a bit later "... one of the chateau’s four extinguisher-topped towers."
Sanders suggests, in his Companion to A Tale of Two Cities, that the Marquis’ double staircase and terrace may be modeled on the Palace of Fontainebleau,


"...the wooden jalousie-blinds closed..."
a jalousie-blind is a “blind or shutter made with slats which slope upwards from without, so as to exclude sun and rain, and admit air and some light”

"... the fourteenth Louis- was conspicuous in their rich furniture...

letter de cachet (see message #19, above)

"... one fellow, to our knowledge, was poniarded..."
A poniard is a kind of dagger or “short stabbing weapon.”

The Marquis is apparently irritated by some notion that the lord of the manor does not have access to any bride prior to her husband. This was no longer done but it was a popular subject in historical novels of Dickens' time.

"... If a picture of the chateau as it was to be a very few years hence..."
an acknowledgement by Dickens of the burning and pillaging to come with the Revolution.

"... crazy doors were unbarred...
like "crazed" wood - full of cracks and flaws.

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Books mentioned in this topic

A Tale of Two Cities (other topics)
Bleak House (other topics)
The French Revolution: A History (other topics)
The Frozen Deep (other topics)
The Dover road: annals of an ancient turnpike (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Charles Dickens (other topics)
Wilkie Collins (other topics)
Thomas Carlyle (other topics)
Charles George Harper (other topics)
Albert Richard Smith (other topics)