Skip over navigation

A Tale of Two Cities

Original Text

Modern Text

The sound of a horse at a gallop came fast and furiously up the hill. The sound of a horse running came quickly and furiously up the hill.
“So-ho!” the guard sang out, as loud as he could roar. “Yo there! Stand! I shall fire!” “Halt!” yelled the guard as loud as he could. “You there! Stop or I’ll shoot!”
The pace was suddenly checked, and, with much splashing and floundering, a man’s voice called from the mist, “Is that the Dover mail?” The horse suddenly slowed with a lot of splashing and stumbling. A man’s voice called from the mist, “Is that the Dover mail coach?”
“Never you mind what it is!” the guard retorted. “What are you?” “Never mind what it is!” answered the guard. “Who are you?”
Is that the Dover mail?” Is that the Dover mail coach?”
“Why do you want to know?” “Why do you want to know?”
“I want a passenger, if it is.” “If it is, I’m looking for one of the passengers.”
“What passenger?” “Which passenger?”
“Mr. Jarvis Lorry.” “Mr. Jarvis Lorry.”
Our booked passenger showed in a moment that it was his name. The guard, the coachman, and the two other passengers eyed him distrustfully. Our character said that he was Mr. Jarvis Lorry. The guard, the driver, and the two other passengers looked at him distrustfully.
“Keep where you are,” the guard called to the voice in the mist, “because, if I should make a mistake, it could never be set right in your lifetime. Gentleman of the name of Lorry answer straight.” “Stay where you are,” the guard yelled to the man in the mist. “I don’t want to make a mistake and shoot you. The man named Lorry, speak up!”
“What is the matter?” asked the passenger, then, with mildly quavering speech. “Who wants me? Is it Jerry?” “What’s the matter?” asked the passenger, in a slightly trembling voice. “Who’s looking for me? Is it Jerry?”
(“I don’t like Jerry’s voice, if it is Jerry,” growled the guard to himself. “He’s hoarser than suits me, is Jerry.”) “If that is Jerry, I don’t like the sound of his voice,” the guard muttered to himself. “It’s scratchier than I’d care for.”
“Yes, Mr. Lorry.” “Yes, Mr. Lorry.”
“What is the matter?” “What’s the matter?”
“A despatch sent after you from over yonder. T. and Co.” “I have a letter for you from T. and Company.”
“I know this messenger, guard,” said Mr. Lorry, getting down into the road—assisted from behind more swiftly than politely by the other two passengers, who immediately scrambled into the coach, shut the door, and pulled up the window. “He may come close; there’s nothing wrong.” “I know this messenger, guard,” said Mr. Lorry, exiting the coach onto the road. The other two passengers helped him from behind, though not very politely, then immediately climbed into the coach, shut the door, and closed the window. “He can come close. There’s nothing to worry about.”
“I hope there ain’t, but I can’t make so ‘Nation sure of that,” said the guard, in gruff soliloquy. “Hallo you!” “I hope not, but I can’t be sure of that,” grumbled the guard to himself. “Hey, you!” he said to Jerry.
“Well! And hallo you!” said Jerry, more hoarsely than before. “Hey to you!” said Jerry, raspier than before.
“Come on at a footpace! d’ye mind me? And if you’ve got holsters to that saddle o’ yourn, don’t let me see your hand go nigh ‘em. For I’m a devil at a quick mistake, and when I make one it takes the form of Lead. So now let’s look at you.” “Come over slowly, do you hear me? And if you’ve got gun holsters on your saddle, don’t let me see your hands go near them. I’m quick to make a mistake, and my mistakes usually involve bullets. Let me see you.”
The figures of a horse and rider came slowly through the eddying mist, and came to the side of the mail, where the passenger stood. The rider stooped, and, casting up his eyes at the guard, handed the passenger a small folded paper. The rider’s horse was blown, and both horse and rider were covered with mud, from the hoofs of the horse to the hat of the man. The figures of a horse and rider came slowly out of the swirling mist and over to the side of the mail coach, where the passenger was standing. The rider bent down, and keeping an eye on the guard, handed the passenger a small folded piece of paper. The rider’s horse was exhausted, and both the horse and rider were covered in mud, from the hoofs of the horse to the rider’s hat.
“Guard!” said the passenger, in a tone of quiet business confidence. “Guard!” said the passenger in a confidential tone.
The watchful guard, with his right hand at the stock of his raised blunderbuss, his left at the barrel, and his eye on the horseman, answered curtly, “Sir.” The guard stood ready, his right hand on the handle of the blunderbuss and his left on the barrel. His eyes were on the horseman, and he answered curtly, “Sir.”
“There is nothing to apprehend. I belong to Tellson’s Bank. You must know Tellson’s Bank in London. I am going to Paris on business. A crown to drink. I may read this?” “There’s nothing to worry about. I work at Tellson’s Bank. You must know Tellson’s Bank in London. I’m going to Paris on business. I’ll give you money to buy yourself a drink. Will you let me read this?”
“If so be as you’re quick, sir.” “If you do it quickly, sir.”

More Help

Previous Next