In Chapters 10-16 of A Tale of Two Cities, what is suggested by the coin image?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only reference made to coins is in Book the Second, Chapter 7.  In this chapter, the Marquis d'Evremonde departs from the ball at the hotel of the Monseigneur, a gathering where he has been rebuffed.

With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of consideration not easy to be understood these days, the carriage dashed through streets and swept round corners, with women screaming before it, and men clutching each other and clutching children out of its way.

As the carriage of the Marquis rounds one corner, there is a scream and the horses rear in the air.  A tall man lies in the mud over someone, howling "like a wild animal."  The man rushes the carriage, and the Marquis puts his hand on the hilt of his sword.  The crowd gathers, but looks in submission while the Marquis regards them as "mere rats come out of their holes."

Then, the Marquis complains that the people cannot take care of themselves and stay out of the way.  Gaspard, the father approaches, crying "Dead" agains. The Marquis throws the man a gold coin.  When he hears another tell Gaspard that it is better that the little one die in this manner to live, the Marquis calls him a philosopher and asks his name and occupation.  Then, he throws another gold coin to Defarge, telling him to spend it as he likes.  As the Marquis settles back into the carriage with

the air of a gentlman who had accidentally broken some common thing, and had paid for it, and could afford to pay for it

When his comfort is disturbed by a coin flying into his carriage and "ringing on the floor.

While the Marquis tosses the coin disdainfully to the father of the dead boy, he views the death of a peasant hardly worth a gold coin, and certainly unworthy of his consideration.  But, when the coin he feels he graciously gives Defarge is thrown back into his carriage, the Marquis is insulted.  Defarge tells the Marquis that his money is meaningless to him and the others, for it will not bring the son of the man back to life.

Later, payment is sought from the Marquis, and he is killed in his chateau.  After his death, his face appears in stone on the walls of his chateau as the gorgon head with the two dents on the sides of his nose.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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