A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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Book the Third, Chapter 13 Summary and Analysis

Summary:

That night, fifty-two prisoners await their execution in the “black prison of the Conciergerie.” Charles Darnay sits alone in his cell, preparing for death. He writes a letter to Lucie, explaining that he was unaware of his father’s and uncle’s connection to Dr. Manette’s imprisonment. He also writes to Dr. Manette and Lorry. The next morning, he tries to imagine what La Guillotine must look like; he has never seen “the instrument that was to terminate his life.” He paces the floor of his cell, waiting for the final hour of three o’clock to arrive. Suddenly, Sydney Carton appears with “a request” from Lucie. He entreats Darnay to switch boots with him, and Darnay insists that escape is impossible. Carton asks Darnay to write a brief statement. Darnay complies, and Carton drugs him using the potion he purchased from the chemist. While Darnay is unconscious, Carton switches their clothing and instructs Barsad (who Carton blackmailed into sneaking him into the prison) to carry Darnay to the carriage Lorry had prepared. Barsad is still paranoid that Carton will betray him, but Carton is “true to the death.” Darnay is conveyed to Lorry’s carriage, and Carton is left in his place to await the arrival of the tumbrels (open carts used to haul prisoners to La Guillotine). As he joins the crowd...

(The entire section is 453 words.)