Like Pete I was struck by the violence in this instalment, both the violence of the mob who overtake the funeral procession and the domestic violence in the Cruncher household, as Jerry, ‘the honest tradesman’ prepares to chastise his wife for any sign of disobedience. As Pete observes, the scene of the mob surrounding the coach could have taken place in Paris. The contrast with the crowd surrounding the Marquis’s coach is clear. That ‘mob’ had been starved into servility; their English counterparts, energised by the news that it is the funeral of a spy, go on to break windows and attack public houses.
Reading this week’s instalment I am also struck by how much is required of a weekly reader in making connections with what has gone on for the past twelve weeks. We need to connect the corpse with Roger Cly, from the Darnay trial. We might remember the rust on Jerry Cruncher’s hand, but it would also be helpful to remember the comment in week 5 that he often went out with clean boots and came home with muddy ones. With the grave robbing scene, suddenly we see the significance of his being the messenger entrusted with ‘Recalled to Life’. How much, I wonder, did the reader of the weekly instalments in the summer of 1859 remember, without the advantage of being able to flip back to earlier issues. He could do this if he had purchased All the Year Round, but not if he had borrowed it or read it in a public place. My admiration for contemporary readers is growing.