english

Excerpted from
A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens

[1] Saint Antoine* had been, that morning, a vast dusky mass of scarecrows heaving to and fro, with frequent gleams of light above the billowy heads, where steel blades and bayonets shone in the sun. A tremendous roar arose from the throat of Saint Antoine, and a forest of naked arms struggled in the air like shrivelled branches of trees in a winter wind: all the fingers convulsively clutching at every weapon or semblance of a weapon that was thrown up from the depths below, no matter how far off.

[2] Who gave them out, whence they last came, where they began, no eye in the throng could have told; but, muskets were being distributed—so were cartridges, powder, and ball, bars of iron and wood, knives, axes, pikes, every weapon that distracted ingenuity could discover or devise.

[3] People who could lay hold of nothing else, set themselves with bleeding hands to force stones and bricks out of their places in walls. Every pulse and heart in Saint Antoine was on high-fever strain and at high-fever heat. Every living creature there held life as of no account, and was demented with a passionate readiness to sacrifice it.

[4] As a whirlpool of boiling waters has a centre point, so, all this raging circled round Defarge's wine-shop, and every human drop in the caldron
had a tendency to be sucked towards the vortex where Defarge himself, already begrimed with gunpowder and sweat, issued orders, issued arms, thrust this man back, dragged this man forward, disarmed one to arm another, laboured and strove in the thickest of the uproar.

[5] “Patriots and friends, we are ready! The Bastille!”**

[6] With a roar that sounded as if all the breath in France had been shaped into the detested word, the living sea rose, wave on wave, depth on depth, and overflowed the city to that point. Alarm-bells ringing, drums beating, the sea raging and thundering on its new beach, the attack began.

[7] “To me, women!” cried madame, his wife. “What! We can kill as well as the men when the place is taken!” And to her, with a shrill thirsty cry, trooping women variously armed, but all armed alike in hunger and revenge.

[8] A white flag from within the fortress, and a parley—this dimly perceptible through the raging storm, nothing audible in it—suddenly the sea rose immeasurably wider and higher, and swept Defarge of the wine-shop over the lowered drawbridge, past the massive stone outer walls, in among the eight great towers surrendered!

[9] Everywhere was tumult, exultation, deafening and maniacal bewilderment, astounding noise, yet furious dumb-show.

[10] “The Prisoners!”

[11] Saint Antoine was clamorous to have its wine-shop keeper foremost in the guard upon the governor who had defended the Bastille and shot the people. Otherwise, the governor would not be marched to the Hotel de Ville*** for judgment. The governor would escape, and the people's blood (suddenly of some value, after many years of worthlessness) be unavenged.

[12] In the howling universe of passion and contention that seemed to encompass this grim old officer conspicuous in his grey coat and red decoration, there was but one quite steady figure, and that was a woman's. “See, there is my husband!” she cried, pointing him out.

[13] “See Defarge!” She stood immovable close to the grim old officer, and remained immovable close to him through the streets, as Defarge and the rest bore him along; remained immovable close to him when he was got near his destination, and began to be struck at from behind; remained immovable close to him when the long-gathering rain of stabs and blows fell heavy; was so close to him when he dropped dead under it, that, suddenly animated, she put her foot upon his neck, and with her cruel knife—long ready—hewed off his head.

[14] The hour was come, when Saint Antoine was to execute his horrible idea of hoisting up men for lamps to show what he could be and do. Saint Antoine's blood was up, and the blood of tyranny and domination by the iron hand was down—down on the steps of the Hotel de Ville where the governor's body lay. “Lower the lamp yonder!” cried Saint Antoine, after glaring round for a new means of death; “here is one of his soldiers to be left on guard!” The swinging sentinel was posted, and the sea rushed on.

[15] But, in the ocean of faces where every fierce and furious expression was in vivid life, there were two groups of faces—each seven in number—so fixedly contrasting with the rest, that never did sea roll which bore more memorable wrecks with it. Seven faces of prisoners, suddenly released by the storm that had burst their tomb, were carried high overhead: all scared, all lost, all wondering and amazed, as if the Last Day were come, and those who rejoiced around them were lost spirits. Other seven faces there were, carried higher, seven dead faces, whose drooping eyelids and half-seen eyes awaited the Last Day.

[16] Seven prisoners released, seven gory heads on pikes, the keys of the accursed fortress of the eight strong towers, some discovered letters and other memorials of prisoners of old time, long dead of broken hearts,—such, and such—like, the loudly echoing footsteps of Saint Antoine escort through the Paris streets in mid-July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

*A street in Paris, France, where many poor artists and craftsmen lived in the late 1700s.

** A large prison in Paris. On July 14, 1789, an angry mob, frustrated with high taxes and extreme poverty, stormed the Bastille to obtain weapons. The attack on the Bastille began a bloody revolution. Many rich people, including the king and queen, were killed.

*** A building that houses members of government, similar to a city hall.

Which sentence BEST reveals the author's voice?

A. People who could lay hold of nothing else, set themselves with bleeding hands to force stones and bricks out of their places in walls.
B. And to her, with a shrill thirsty cry, trooping women variously armed, but all armed alike in hunger and revenge.
C. Saint Antoine was clamorous to have its wine-shop keeper foremost in the guard upon the governor who had defended the Bastille and shot the people.
D. Everywhere was tumult, exultation, deafening and maniacal bewilderment,
astounding noise, yet furious dumb-show.

i feel like the answer to this is D but i'm not sure.

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  1. I agree.

  2. thank you!

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    posted by orpheus
  3. You're welcome.

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