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A Tale of Two Cities

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Completing his resemblance to a man who was sitting for his portrait, Mr. Lorry dropped off to sleep. The arrival of his breakfast roused him, and he said to the drawer, as he moved his chair to it: Completing his resemblance to a man having his portrait painted, Mr. Lorry fell asleep. The arrival of his breakfast woke him, and he said to the attendant, as he moved his chair up to the table:
“I wish accommodation prepared for a young lady who may come here at any time to-day. She may ask for Mr. Jarvis Lorry, or she may only ask for a gentleman from Tellson’s Bank. Please to let me know.” “I would like you to get a room ready for a young woman who may arrive here at any time today. She may ask for Mr. Jarvis Lorry, or she may just ask for a gentleman from Tellson’s Bank. Please let me know when she arrives.”
“Yes, sir. Tellson’s Bank in London, sir?” “Yes, sir. Tellson’s Bank in London, sir?”
“Yes.” “Yes.”
“Yes, sir. We have oftentimes the honour to entertain your gentlemen in their travelling backwards and forwards betwixt London and Paris, sir. A vast deal of travelling, sir, in Tellson and Company’s House.” “Yes, sir. We often have the honor of hosting you gentlemen as you travel between London and Paris, sir. Tellson and Company employees travel a great deal, sir.”
“Yes. We are quite a French House, as well as an English one.” “Yes. We are very much a French business, as well as an English one.”
“Yes, sir. Not much in the habit of such travelling yourself, I think, sir?” “Yes, sir. You don’t frequently do the traveling yourself, do you sir?”
“Not of late years. It is fifteen years since we—since I—came last from France.” “Not in recent years. It’s been fifteen years since we—since I—last came back from France.”
“Indeed, sir? That was before my time here, sir. Before our people’s time here, sir. The George was in other hands at that time, sir.” “Really, sir? That was before I worked here, sir. Before the new owners bought this place, sir. The George Hotel was owned by other people back then, sir.”
“I believe so.” “I believe it was.”
“But I would hold a pretty wager, sir, that a House like Tellson and Company was flourishing, a matter of fifty, not to speak of fifteen years ago?” “But I would bet, sir, that a bank like Tellson and Company was thriving fifty, not to mention fifteen, years ago?”
“You might treble that, and say a hundred and fifty, yet not be far from the truth.” “You could triple that and say a hundred and fifty.”
“Indeed, sir!” “Really, sir!”
Rounding his mouth and both his eyes, as he stepped backward from the table, the waiter shifted his napkin from his right arm to his left, dropped into a comfortable attitude, and stood surveying the guest while he ate and drank, as from an observatory or watchtower. According to the immemorial usage of waiters in all ages. The waiter opened wide his mouth and eyes as he stepped back from the table. He moved his napkin from his right arm to his left, shifted into a casual stance, and stood watching while Mr. Lorry ate and drank. The waiter watched as though looking from a watchtower, as waiters have always done.
When Mr. Lorry had finished his breakfast, he went out for a stroll on the beach. The little narrow, crooked town of Dover hid itself away from the beach, and ran its head into the chalk cliffs, like a marine ostrich. The beach was a desert of heaps of sea and stones tumbling wildly about, and the sea did what it liked, and what it liked was destruction. It thundered at the town, and thundered at the cliffs, and brought the coast down, madly. The air among the houses was of so strong a piscatory flavour that one might have supposed sick fish went up to be dipped in it, as sick people went down to be dipped in the sea. A little fishing was done in the port, and a quantity of strolling about by night, and looking seaward: particularly at those times when the tide made, and was near flood. Small tradesmen, who did no business whatever, sometimes unaccountably realised large fortunes, and it was remarkable that nobody in the neighbourhood could endure a lamplighter. When Mr. Lorry had finished breakfast, he went out for a stroll on the beach. The cramped, crooked town of Dover couldn’t be seen from the beach, as though it were hiding, and it extended all the way to the chalk cliffs. The sea tossed stones wildly about on the beach. It did what it liked, and what it liked was destruction. It threatened the town by crashing angrily against the cliffs. The air around the houses had such a fishy smell that one might have thought sick fish went to the water to dip themselves in it, just as sick people sometimes do. Not much fishing was done in the port, but

suspicious-looking people were always wandering along the water at night

Dover was known as a smuggling port

suspicious-looking people were always wandering along the water at night
, particularly at high tide. Small businessmen who didn’t work at all sometimes mysteriously came upon large fortunes for no apparent reason, and for some strange reason, nobody could tolerate the lamps being lit at night.
As the day declined into the afternoon, and the air, which had been at intervals clear enough to allow the French coast to be seen, became again charged with mist and vapour, Mr. Lorry’s thoughts seemed to cloud too. When it was dark, and he sat before the coffee-room fire, awaiting his dinner as he had awaited his breakfast, his mind was busily digging, digging, digging, in the live red coals. As afternoon came on, the air, which at times was clear enough that one could see the French coast, clouded over with mist and fog. Mr. Lorry’s mood seemed to cloud over as well. When it got dark, he sat in front of the coffee-room fire, awaiting his dinner just as he had awaited his breakfast. He imagined he was digging again as he stared into the red coals of the fire.

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