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A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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Whose funeral procession does the crowd attack in Book 2, chapter 14 in A Tale of Two Cities?

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As Jerry Cruncher watches from his post before Tellson's Bank with his "grisly urchin," young Jerry, near him, young Jerry calls out as a crowd comes down Fleet street.  Since funerals hold the attention of Jerry, he becomes greatly excited as he sees the dingy hearse and mourning coach in which there is a single mourner.  But, behind these coaches a rabble forms, calling out, "Yah! Spies! Tst! Yaha!"  As one person comes by, Jerry learns from him that the funeral is for "a one Roger Cly."  When Jerry inquires if he were a spy, his informant tells him, "Old Bailey spy,...Yaha! Tst!Yah! Old Bailey Spi-i-ies!"

It is then that Jerry realizes that he is acquainted with Roger Cly who was present at the trial of Charles Darnay and testified against him.  Again the crowd "was a monster dreaded" that ripped things and "stopped at nothing."  Men jump on top of the mourning coach and ride.  In fact, they commandeer the coach.  After Roger Cly is buried, the crowd finds a new diversion with which to entertain themselves:  They begin to harrass passers-by, but the Guards finally come and disperse the crowd.

Talking to himself, Jerry Cruncher tells himself that Roger Cly is a young and straight made un." So, he hurries to the surgeon to tell him that he has an excellent specimen for the experiments of the medical field; that is, he has a new body on which he may try his trade.

This  exposure of Roger Cly becomes important to the development of the plot of Dickens's novel.  For, Roger Cly is the spy who testifies against Charles Darnay,and Jerry goes out at night to dig up his grave.  This incident is a parody of the resurrection scene in the subplot and foreshadows Cly's reappearance in the narrative.

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