All this is from a memory of the extract from fifty-five years ago, so I'm hazy about the full context. It's from the scene in the jail where the clothes-swapping occurs, and I was gripped by the highly charged atmosphere it invoked.
I couldn't quite imagine at age nine or so being that noble myself, though I did think people would be impressed afterwards when they found out how incredibly generous of spirit I was. The only real drawback to that is that I'd be dead, and not really be able to bask in the sacrificial glory. So it would be a waste, really, and I don't think my family would be all that thrilled by it either. It seems I have very little trace of true martyrdom in me.
I always thought "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friend[s]" came from this novel, but it turns out the Bible [John 15:13] got there first by a country mile. It was a beautiful thing for Sydney Carton to do, but I couldn't imagine how Darnay could live with the swap for the rest of his life.
I think they were both in love with the same woman, which may explain why Darnay accepted the offer, but it makes Carton's gesture a bit silly. Even at the age of nine I would have gone for the girl, and hoped that she didn't mind which of the two of us she ended up with.
But that was soppy stuff, and when I was in Grade Five I'd much rather have seen a picture of him at the precise moment the guillotine did its thing, Madame Defarge knitting away busily in a front row seat.
And, finally finally, the one I detested above all.
Gelert [343 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 1: Introduction [1000 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 2: The Daisy and the Lark [256 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 3: The Little Match Girl [206 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 4: The Crocodile and the Bull [280 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 5: Escape from the wolves [444 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 6: Mazeppa's Ride [438 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 7: A Tale of Two Cities [336 words]
Fearsome tales in our Readers 8: Gelert [343 words]
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