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With melodramatic coincidence, the description of the court and its proceedings is not unlike that of Charles Darnay's trial in England, suggesting parallels and that La Force has merely replaced one corrupt government with another, albeit cruder, one. For, Dickens writes,
Looking at the Jury and the trubulent audience, he [Darnay] might have thought that the usual order of things was reversed, and that the felons were trying the honest men. The lowest, cruelest, and worst populace of a city, never without its quantity of low, cruel, and bad, were the directing spirits of the scene: noisily commenting, applauding, disapproving, anticipating, and precipitating the result, without a check.
Clearly, Darnay finds himself in the presence of the ignorant, so-long oppressed, vengeful peasants of the Third Estate of France, who now hold the power of life in their hands. "Take off his head!" this rabble shouts. But, Darnay insists that he is not an emigrant as defined since he has freely relinquished a title that was most distasteful to him; he names Gabelle and Dr. Manette as witnesses to this fact.
When Darnay mentions the name Alexandre Manette, cheers rise from this capricious crowd, for Manette has been known as the "Bastille Captive" and is now helralded as a hero. Then, when he explains that he is married to Lucie Manette, the physician's daughter,
Cries in exaltation of the well-known good physician rent the hall. So capriciously were the people moved, that tears immediately rolled down several ferocious countenances which had been glaring at the prisoner a moment before, as if with impatience to pluck him out into the streets and kill him.
Darnay explains that he has returned to France only in response to the written entreaty of a French citizen. When Darnay queries if this is a crime, a resounding "No!" echoes throughout La Force. With the testimony of the respected Dr. Manette, the Jurymen declare that they have heard enough and declare Darnay declare him free.
Then, began one of those extraordinary scenes with which the populace sometimes gratified their fickleness, or their better impulses towards generosity and mercy, or which they regarded as some set-off against their swollen account of cruel rage. No man can decide now to which of these motives such extraordinary scenes were referable; it is probable, to a blending of all the three, with the second predominating. No sooner was the acquittal pronounced, than tears were shed as freely as blood at another time....
In their exuberance, the peasants embrace Darnay and nearly suffocate him; this same exuberance could just as easily have "rend him to pieces and strew him over the streets." As other accused person come before the "dread Tribunal," they are quickly dispensed with and sentenced to die before the next twenty-four hours. Meanwhile, Darnay is placed in a great chair and carried in glory throughout the streets. A woman is raised into a vacant chair and declared the "Goddess of Liberty" as the crowd swells and overflows into the adjacent streets. As Darnay kisses Lucie in their joy, the crowd "reverently bowed their heads and hearts."
Chapter VI of Book the Third of A Tale of Two Cities repeats some of the dichotomies presented in the first chapter: It is for Darnay the worst of times, the best of times; it is the time of wisdom from Dr. Manette, and the time of foolishness from the fickle crowd in the fickle atmosphere of the trial.
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