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A Tale of Two Cities

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“Pray take a seat, sir.” In a very clear and pleasant young voice; a little foreign in its accent, but a very little indeed. “Please, sit down, sir,” she said, in a very clear and pleasant young voice with a very slight foreign accent.
“I kiss your hand, miss,” said Mr. Lorry, with the manners of an earlier date, as he made his formal bow again, and took his seat. “I kiss your hand, miss,” said Mr. Lorry, in a slightly old-fashioned manner, as he bowed formally again and sat down.
“I received a letter from the Bank, sir, yesterday, informing me that some intelligence—or discovery—” “I received a letter from the bank, sir, yesterday, telling me about some information—or discovery—”
“The word is not material, miss; either word will do.” “The word isn’t important, miss, either one will do.”
“—respecting the small property of my poor father, whom I never saw—so long dead—” “—regarding what little property my poor father owned. I never met him. He has been dead so long…”
Mr. Lorry moved in his chair, and cast a troubled look towards the hospital procession of negro cupids. As if THEY had any help for anybody in their absurd baskets! Mr. Lorry moved in his seat and looked uneasily at the line of black cupids, as if they could help anyone!
“—rendered it necessary that I should go to Paris, there to communicate with a gentleman of the Bank, so good as to be despatched to Paris for the purpose.” “…making it necessary that I travel to Paris to meet with a gentleman from the bank, who would be sent there to meet with me.”
“Myself.” “That’s me.”
“As I was prepared to hear, sir.” “That’s what I thought, sir.”
She curtseyed to him (young ladies made curtseys in those days), with a pretty desire to convey to him that she felt how much older and wiser he was than she. He made her another bow. She curtseyed to him (young ladies curtsied in those days) to acknowledge how much older and wiser he was than her. He bowed to her again.
“I replied to the Bank, sir, that as it was considered necessary, by those who know, and who are so kind as to advise me, that I should go to France, and that as I am an orphan and have no friend who could go with me, I should esteem it highly if I might be permitted to place myself, during the journey, under that worthy gentleman’s protection. The gentleman had left London, but I think a messenger was sent after him to beg the favour of his waiting for me here.” “I replied to the bank, sir. I told them that since I am an orphan with no friends who could go with me, I would be grateful if the gentleman from the bank could travel with me for protection. The gentleman had already left London, but I believe a messenger was sent after him to ask him to wait for me here.”
“I was happy,” said Mr. Lorry, “to be entrusted with the charge. I shall be more happy to execute it.” “I was happy to be given the job,” said Mr. Lorry. “I will be even happier to perform it.”
“Sir, I thank you indeed. I thank you very gratefully. It was told me by the Bank that the gentleman would explain to me the details of the business, and that I must prepare myself to find them of a surprising nature. I have done my best to prepare myself, and I naturally have a strong and eager interest to know what they are.” “Thank you, sir. I am very grateful. The bank told me that you would explain the details of the situation to me, and that I should prepare myself to be surprised by what I hear. I have prepared myself as best I can. Naturally, I am anxious to know what this is all about.”
“Naturally,” said Mr. Lorry. “Yes—I—” “Of course,” said Mr. Lorry. “Yes—I—”
After a pause, he added, again settling the crisp flaxen wig at the ears, “It is very difficult to begin.” After a pause, he adjusted his blond wig around his ears and added, “It is very difficult to begin.”
He did not begin, but, in his indecision, met her glance. The young forehead lifted itself into that singular expression—but it was pretty and characteristic, besides being singular—and she raised her hand, as if with an involuntary action she caught at, or stayed some passing shadow. He did not begin, and unable to decide how to proceed, looked her in the eye. Her forehead wrinkled into that unique, though attractive, expression. She raised her hand impulsively, as if trying to catch a passing shadow.
“Are you quite a stranger to me, sir?” “Have we ever met before, sir?”
“Am I not?” Mr. Lorry opened his hands, and extended them outwards with an argumentative smile. “Would we have?” Mr. Lorry opened his hands and extended them toward her with an awkward smile.
Between the eyebrows and just over the little feminine nose, the line of which was as delicate and fine as it was possible to be, the expression deepened itself as she took her seat thoughtfully in the chair by which she had hitherto remained standing. He watched her as she mused, and the moment she raised her eyes again, went on: Between her eyebrows and just above her dainty little nose, which was as fine and delicate as possible, her expression deepened. She sat down thoughtfully in the chair next to which she had been standing. He watched her as she thought, and as soon as she looked up again, he continued:

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