I believe I quoted Victor Meldrew some time ago so I won’t repeat his refrain. I am afraid that much more of this will render my temporary suspension of disbelief into a more permanent state.
Can anyone really be allowed to suggest that two French nobles in 1757 would be concerned over the health or otherwise of peasants they regarded as dogs and vermin?
Why would Darnay’s uncle, who in 1777 was not concerned over the death of a child under his carriage wheels, go to the trouble of seeking out a doctor to attend a peasant he had mortally injured, in a case of self-defence, and a girl he had taken in droit de seigneur by proxy? The death of either or both would not have attracted any attention from their peers and no one else could have protested.
Manette knows this: “I knew what court influence was, and what the immunities of nobles were, and I expected that the matter would never be heard of …..”, yet he writes a letter to the minister not out of outrage at injustice but “.. to relieve my own mind.” Pontius Pilate did something similar.
For Manette to think that it would go no further shows that like Darnay he doesn’t understand the danger to his wife and himself by galloping off on a white horse. He has written his own Lettre de Cachet and whilst imprisoned he has written the same for Darnay, an achievement his uncle could not perform.
Having got the grouch over, the instalment, which I think Dickens could have written in a much more imaginative way, does explain the first cause that gave rise to the Golden Thread and how past actions can roll along the line of time to create a storm years later.