The mender of roads, who represents what Dickens calls "the sea of time" or the revolution, is a "grizzled" man who joins the group around the fountain of the village after the Marquis callously runs over a small child and continues on his way to the chateau in Chapter 8 of...
The mender of roads, who represents what Dickens calls "the sea of time" or the revolution, is a "grizzled" man who joins the group around the fountain of the village after the Marquis callously runs over a small child and continues on his way to the chateau in Chapter 8 of Book the Second of A Tale of Two Cities. As the Marquis regards the "misery-worn face and figure" of a peasant, he notices the mender of roads in the blue cap: "Bring me hither that fellow!"
The Marquis d'Evremonde asks this man why he has looked so fixedly at his carriage when it passed him coming up the hill as well as at the top of the hill. The mender of roads says, "Monseigner, I looked at the man," pointing under the carriage. His vagueness in mentioning no name for the man raises the ire of the Marquis, who demands to know the name of the man who hung from the chains under his carriage, contending that the mender in the blue cap knows all the other peasants. However, the mender of roads declares,
"He was not part of the country. Of all the days of my life, I never saw him."
Continuing to respond to the aristocrat's questions, the mender of roads states that the man was covered with dust and was "white as a spectre, tall as a spectre!" After this statement, all eyes are on the Marquis, who is clever enough not to "ruffle such vermin." He compliments the man that he has done well in telling him. Then, he instructs Monsieur Gabelle, the Postmaster and tax functionary, to have this man watched and see that his dealings are not secretive. Gabelle is also instructed to investigate what has become of the man who hid under the carriage.
This mender of roads will appear later in the narrative as he is brought to the wine shop of the DeFarges where he shown both "dolls and birds" as Madame Defarge calls them; that is, he will see more aristocrats whose appearance and histories will influence him further in the "sea of time," the approaching fate of the revolution. His blue hat symbolizes this sea for the new revolutionary.