Continued from Part One…
It turns out that DX couriers have the worst online tracking system in the world, which, after making you input various numbers and data, tells you nothing more than you already know: your parcel may or may not be with you today. Maybe in the morning, while you’re still in your PJs. Maybe right before you go to bed. JUST DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT DASHING OUT TO THE SHOP FOR MILK, BITCH! So, a little put out, but jazzed up on caffeine and chocolate chip cookies, I settled back into my reading chair for Book 2:
Book The Second – The Golden Thread
Chapter 1 – Five Years Later: “They kept [Mr Lorry] in a dark place, like a cheese…” BEST. SIMILE. EVER.
Chapter 2 – A Sight: Mr Cruncher is such a wonderfully Dickensian name. Mmm, I’ve not had a Cadbury’s ‘Crunchie’ since I was a kid. *Glances at the suddenly unsatisfying chocolate chip cookies*. If only I wasn’t imprisoned here I could go to the shop and buy one. *Scowls out the window to see if delivery-slave has arrived yet.* Nope.
Wow, such fetishization of capital punishments. The Law in this novel is one scary bastard. Note to self: never do anything so bad it results in your being hung, drawn and quartered.
Chapter 3 – A Disappointment: Aaarg, so many new characters, and this is Dickens, so they’re all going to come back and be important later. Ok, so Darnay is the one on trial. Stryver is his council. Barsad and Cly are testifying against him and, oh, now Dr Manette and cyborg-Lucie are there too and, oh, great…she has swooned.
Chapter 4 – Congratulatory: Excellent, Darnay is acquitted of treason. Let’s get this plot a-going. Also, DOUBLING is happening. Now if a specialism in Victorian literature has taught me anything it’s that doubles are everywhere, and important, and if you have one, either you or they will die horribly by page 350. Sydney Carton, dude, this does NOT look good for you. If it’s any comfort, though, and judging from this broody-Edward-Cullen-esque illustration that never fails to make me laugh, Sydney Carton would totally get the girl in a modern version of this story. Look at that smouldery bastard:
Chapter 5 – The Jackal: “Those were drinking days and most men drank hard.” Yes, I’ve seen this stereotype of the port-swilling, fox-hunting, wench-wenching, Regency male crop up a few times. The one that springs to mind is Flashman, of course, but also Tom Brown’s father in Tom Brown’s Schooldays. *Shudders at thought of sanctimonious schoolboy fiction and returns to sweet arms of guillotine-lit.*
Also, Sydney Carton as ‘The Jackal’ is giving me false hope that later we might be treated to a scene in which he shoots Jack Black with a big gun. (If you get that reference I doff my cap to you, fellow child of the 80s)
Sydney claims that Lucie is “a golden-haired doll” and not attractive at all, but the tortured, emo, man-tears that follow suggests otherwise. Also, this sentence: ‘Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; and rose upon no sadder sight than [Sydney Carton].’ Wow. That’s a whole lot of sadness. *Eats another cookie*
Chapter 6 – Hundreds of People: “The quiet lodgings of Doctor Manette were in a quiet street-corner not far from Soho-square.” *Immediately indulges fascination with Victorian maps to try to pinpoint exactly where this house is.*
Miss Pross and Mr Lorry are adorable. Please let them marry.
Chapter 7 – Monseigneur in Town: Oh sweet Jesus, YES to hot chocolate as a signifier of aristocracy and decadence in literature. Yes also to a team of specially-trained hot-chocolate minions to serve said beverage:
“It took four men, all four ablaze with gorgeous decoration, and the Chief of them unable to exist with fewer than two gold watches in his pocket, emulative of the noble and chaste fashion set by Monseigneur, to conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur’s lips. One lacquey carried the chocolate-pot into the sacred presence; a second, milled and frothed the chocolate with the little instrument he bore for that function; a third, presented the favoured napkin; a fourth (he of the two gold watches), poured the chocolate out. It was impossible for Monseigneur to dispense with one of these attendants on the chocolate and hold his high place under the admiring Heavens.”
Monseigneur the Marquis = best panto villain ever. I imagine him with a great big powdered wig and a big hat and a villain-mole and then, lo and behold, I turns the page and finds another wonderful illustration that makes me chortle:
And let this be a lesson to us all of the dangers of driving too fast in urban environments. The death of the child under the carriage wheels really is kinda tragic. Having said that, this fucking courier could stand to drive a little faster. I’m going for an early lunch, and maybe some hot chocolate…. (Continued in Part 3)