Chapters 15 and 16: Knitting
The road mender who spotted the man under the Marquis’ coach goes to
Defarge’s wine shop to tell them that Gaspard, who has been in hiding, has been captured, jailed and hanged with his corpse left dangling in the village fountain. They take the road mender to see the splendor
of the court and to cheer at the nobles. They do this on a regular basis to lull the aristocrats into a false sense of security.
Defarge learns that there is a new spy in the area called John Barsad who is
trying to find out about any revolutionary movement. He comes to the Defarge’s wine shop and questions them about Gaspard. They know nothing, but Mme. Defarge knits the name ‘Barsad’ into her shroud.
Barsad advises them that Lucie Manette is engaged to marry Charles Darnay, the nephew of the Marquis St. Evremonde. Defarge remarks that he hopes destiny will keep Lucie and Darnay away from France. Mme. Defarge knits Darnay’s name next to Barsad’s.
The cycle of violence in France is escalating illustrated by the gruesome
death of Gaspard.
Although Defarge had bravely made a petition to the King to spare Gaspard,
this was rejected. Mme. Defarge condemns the entire Evremonde family, which now includes the name of Darnay.
Defarge shows himself so far to be a man who values fairness and justice in
stark contrast to his wife who wishes to see the complete extermination of all those in power and those related to them.
She is only concerned with revenge and death. Defarge seems frustrated that there seems to be no real change in their situation and wonders if the Revolution will ever come. However, Mme. Defarge remains unswerving in her commitment to the cause.
The Revolution is the Defarge’s child.
They have no children of their own and all their resources are directed towards the Revolution, but unlike any other mother, Mme. Defarge is not working towards life, but towards death.