List the three "cards" Carton holds which will force Barsad to help him with his plan to free Darnay.A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In another of Charles Dickens's signature coincidences, all of the major characters connected to the trial of Charles Darnay in Book the First, except for Stryver, come together on a street in St. Antoine in Chapter 8 of Book the Third of A Tale of Two Cities.  When Miss Pross, who is shopping with Jerry Cruncher, decides that they need some wine, she enters a wine shop where there are a number of men with red caps.  By accident, she and a man come face-to-face:  It is her brother Solomon, whom she has not seen for years.  He tells her not to call him Solomon and takes her outside the shop; then he asks who Jerry Cruncher with a look on his face as though he has seen a ghost. For, Jerry recognizes the man, asking him if his name is not also John as in John Basard,whom he witnessed at the Bailey during the trial of Charles Darnay.  (It is Sydney Carton who supplies the last name.)  Carton then steps forward and tells Barsad that he proposes the "losing game," but he will win Barsad.  To this, Barsad says that Carton must have winning cards.  Replying that he does have winning cards, Carton "lays" them before Barsad:

1.  Sydney's first "card" that he can pull against Barsad is to report that he has used a false name--John Barsad--to the French when he is really Solomon Pross.

"Mr. Barsad, now turnkey,always spy and secret informer, so much the more valuable here for being English that an Englishman is less open to suspicion of subornation in those charcter than a Frenchman, represents himself to his employers under a false name...."

2  Sydney tells Barsad that he can report him as a former English spy, Roger Cly, for the aristocrats of England, the enemy of the French revolutionaries.  (Jerry comes forward and tells Barsad that the cofffin of the "deceased" Roger Cly was filled with rocks, suggesting that he and Carton know that Barsad and Cly are the same man.)

."Mr. Barsad, now in the employ of the republican French government, was formerly in the employ of the aristocratic English government, the enemy of France and freedom....Mr. Barsad, still in the pay of the aristocratic English government, is the spy of Pitt, the treacherous foe of the Republic crouching in its bosom, the English traitor and agent of all mischief so much spoken of and so difficult to find. That's a card not to be beaten."

3. He will report Barsad as a foreigner among the Revolutionaries.  And, Barsad understands more than Carton the danger here because of his spying on St. Antoine and Defarge's wine-shop.  For, Barsad has noted the look on Madame Defarge's face as she knitted one time; also, he has noticed that shortly after Madame looks at someone and knits, that person is soon guillotined.

"I play my Ace, Denunciation of Mr. Barsad to the nearest Section Committee." 

Once he has convinced John Barsad of his "winning hand" Carton takes the spy into a dark room to have a final word, "the losing hand" of  Carton's admission into the Conciergerie.

We’ve answered 317,708 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question