I agree with Ben and Holly that the opening scene in the street is wonderfully, disturbingly graphic of humanity at its lowest point, but for me the most striking line of this installment was this piece of dialogue between Miss Manette (what, still not on first name terms? Dickens is putting her on quite a pedestal there…) and Jarvis:
“I am afraid of it,” she answered, shuddering.
“Of it? What?”
“I mean of him. Of my father.”
It? IT?!? Amazing. After the humanising exposition of last week, this creature of whom Jarvis had nightmares in part one regains his/its inhumanity and intimidation. I was really rather taken aback by this moment and the immediate anticipation and nervousness that it built up for the ensuing meeting of father and daughter. What would a person think upon meeting their father after so long? And why should Miss Manette (honestly now Charles, just tell us her first name so I can save time typing) experience fear above all other emotions?
I was also deeply, deeply annoyed to see the instalment end so soon. Like loutreleaven, I’ve made the conscious decision to read from the scanned copy rather than the transcript, so when I came to scroll down to the bottom of the page I was genuinely shocked to see the instalment end and the next article begin, as the pace of the piece had been leading me hurtling towards the introduction of Dr Manette. Thus far the frustration of each weekly pause has been more of a mild annoyance, but this week I’m having a real good angel/bad angel debate about whether to just take a sneak peek at next week. Don’t worry, don’t worry, I’ll be good…