Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 31

Charles Darnay experiences numerous delays in his trip. The roads are bad, the equipages are bad, and the horses are bad. Every town has armed citizens who stop every traveler, question them, and inspect their papers. A traveler can expect to be sent back, be allowed to continue, or to be detained. Darnay quickly realizes that he will not be able to return to England unless he is declared a good French citizen.

His desire to help Gabelle makes him continue on his journey. He is awakened by soldiers at an inn he is staying and notified that he will be sent to Paris with an escort. He is billed a high price for the escort. Though he didn’t desire it, the escort does allow him to pass unchallenged through the remaining villages.

When he reaches the town of Beauvais, the townspeople cry out for his downfall. He protests that he came to France of his own free will. The postmaster tries to calm the situation by telling the people that Darnay will be judged in Paris. The crowd expects him to be condemned as a traitor. When Darnay protests he is not a traitor, the crowd rushes him. The postmaster and escort manage to close the gates.

Darnay asks the postmaster what the decree is the people claim his life is forfeit for. The postmaster says the decress was made the day Darnay left England, in which the property of emigrants will be sold. There are other decrees condemning any emigrant that returns to death.

Paris, like other cities, is heavily guarded. People are questioned and inspected before being allowed to pass through the gates. The line is slow-moving, and people often lie down to sleep to wait their turn. A half hour later, Darnay is taken from his escort and enters the guard-house.

An officer asks Defarge if this is the emigrant Evrémonde. Defarge confirms this. The officer questions Darnay about his age, whether he is married, where he was married, and where his wife is. Darnay answers that he is 37 years old, he was married in England, and his wife remained there. The officer tells him that he is to be held prisoner, and Darnay asks on what charge. The officer says there are many new laws and offences. Darnay argues that he came voluntarily in response to an appeal of a countryman. He asks if he has the right to do so. The officer tells him that emigrants have no rights. The officer writes something and hands it to Defarge, saying it is “in secret.” Defarge motions to Darnay to follow him.

Defarge asks Darnay if he married Lucie Manette. Darnay recognizes Defarge as the servant who Lucie had reclaimed her father from. Defarge demands why he came to France. Darnay says he came for the reason he stated. Defarge says that is unfortunate, and he will not help him. He will answer Darnay’s question, depending on what it is. Darnay asks if he will have communication with the outside and have a chance to present his case. Defarge says, “You will see.” He mentions that in the past, other people had been condemned. Darnay claims he never personally condemned anyone.
Darnay then asks him to send a message to Mr. Lorry of Tellsons Bank, who is in France. Defarge refuses, saying his duty is to his country and people—and it is impossible for him to help an enemy.

Darnay notices that the people are well-used to the sight of an aristocrat being lead to prison. He hears an orator on the street tell the people that the king of France is in prison and the foreign ambassadors have left Paris. Darnay would not have made this journey if he had realized the extent of the changes that had occurred in his country. However, still being ignorant, he holds out hope.

Darnay is shown to a cell with other prisoners, men and women of his class. He is reluctant to mingle with them, but they greet him. When he looks at them, he realizes that he is seeing a dead world. Another man asks him if he is “in secret.” Darnay says yes, thought he doesn’t know what the term means. The prisoner doesn’t elaborate. He only says that those prisoners time is short. The others wish him well as a jailer comes for him. He is shown to a solitary cell.

Charles Dickens