|A Tale of Two Cities - Timeline
The earliest series of events related in A Tale of Two Cities begins 18 years before the novel opens in 1775. Through flashbacks and narrations, Dickens eventually reveals these earlier events, weaving them into the ongoing action. Here is a chronological reconstruction of the complete story. Book and chapter references are given in parentheses.
DECEMBER 1757 Dr. Manette is recruited by the St. Evremonde brothers to treat a raped young woman and her wounded, dying brother. Attempting to publicize what he has witnessed, the doctor is imprisoned (III, 10).
DECEMBER 1767 Dr. Manette writes a journal account of his sufferings and hides it in his Bastille cell (III, 10).
NOVEMBER 1775 Mr. Jarvis Lorry tracks down Lucie Manette and they sail to France. Released to the care of Ernest Defarge, the doctor remains in a confused state. His daughter, Lucie, and the banker Jarvis Lorry carry him to London (I, 1-6).
MARCH 1780 Charles Darnay tried and acquitted of treason at the Old Bailey court in London (II, 2-4).
JULY 1780 Peaceful Sunday at the Manettes' Soho residence. Lucie hears "hundreds of footsteps," signalling the approach of revolution in France (II, 6).
SUMMER 1780 Driving in his carriage, Charles Darnay's uncle the Marquis St. Evremonde runs over and kills Gaspard's child. In the morning, St. Evremonde is found dead (II, 7-9).
SUMMER 1781 Darnay and Stryver announce hopes of marrying Lucie. Carton swears love to her (II, 10-13). Roger Cly's funeral. Jerry Cruncher attempts to rob Cly's grave, but finds it empty (II, 14). In France the Defarges learn that Gaspard has been hanged. John Barsad appears as spy for the French monarchy (II, 15-16).
1781 Lucie and Darnay marry; Dr. Manette lapses into amnesia (II, 17-19).
1783 Birth of little Lucie (II, 21).
JULY 14, 1789 Storming of the Bastille; Defarge searches Dr. Manette's old cell. Start of French Revolution (II, 21).
JULY 1789 Peasants burn St. Evremonde chateau (II, 23).
AUGUST 1792 Darnay's return to France, and imprisonment in Paris (II, 24).
SEPTEMBER 1792 September Massacres. Lucie and her father arrive in Paris; Dr. Manette's influence protects Darnay from death at the hands of the mob (III, 2-4).
DECEMBER 1793 Darnay tried and acquitted at La Conciergerie (III, 6); Darnay rearrested same night, through Defarge's influence (III, 7). John Barsad revealed as Solomon Pross, Miss Pross' missing brother; Sydney Carton exposes him as spy of the Revolutionary prisons and blackmails him into helping Carton (III, 8). Darnay's second trial; evidence from Dr. Manette's journal condemns him to die (III, 9-10). Carton takes Darnay's place in La Conciergerie; Darnay party flees France (III, 13). Madame Defarge killed; Miss Pross deafened (III, 14). Carton dies on guillotine (III, 15).