A Tale of Two Cities

by: Charles Dickens

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Modern Text

As the concentrated expression returned to his forehead, he seemed to become conscious that it was in hers too. He turned her full to the light, and looked at her. As the intense expression reappeared on his forehead, he seemed to realize that the same expression was on her forehead too. He moved her into the light and looked at her.
“She had laid her head upon my shoulder, that night when I was summoned out—she had a fear of my going, though I had none—and when I was brought to the North Tower they found these upon my sleeve. ‘You will leave me them? They can never help me to escape in the body, though they may in the spirit.’ Those were the words I said. I remember them very well.” “The night I was taken away, she had put her head on my shoulder. She was afraid I was going away, though I wasn’t. When they brought me to the North Tower they found these hairs on my sleeve. “‘Will you leave them with me?’ I asked. ‘They can’t help me escape this place physically, though they may help me escape spiritually.’ Those were the words I said. I remember them very well.”
He formed this speech with his lips many times before he could utter it. But when he did find spoken words for it, they came to him coherently, though slowly. He formed these words silently with his lips many times before he could say them out loud. When he did finally speak them, he said them clearly, though slowly.
“How was this?—WAS IT YOU?” “How did this happen? WAS IT YOU?”
Once more, the two spectators started, as he turned upon her with a frightful suddenness. But she sat perfectly still in his grasp, and only said, in a low voice, “I entreat you, good gentlemen, do not come near us, do not speak, do not move!” Once again the two men jumped as the old man turned toward her suddenly. But she sat completely still there as he held onto her and only said quietly, “Please, gentlemen, don’t come near us. Don’t speak. Don’t move.”
“Hark!” he exclaimed. “Whose voice was that?” “Listen!” Monsieur Manette cried. “Whose voice was that?”
His hands released her as he uttered this cry, and went up to his white hair, which they tore in a frenzy. It died out, as everything but his shoemaking did die out of him, and he refolded his little packet and tried to secure it in his breast; but he still looked at her, and gloomily shook his head. He let go of her as he yelled this out and tore at his white hair in a frenzy. This fit died down, much like everything had died out of him over the years except for his interest in shoemaking. He folded up the rag and tried to tie it around his neck again. He was still looking at her and sadly shaking his head.
“No, no, no; you are too young, too blooming. It can’t be. See what the prisoner is. These are not the hands she knew, this is not the face she knew, this is not a voice she ever heard. No, no. She was—and He was—before the slow years of the North Tower—ages ago. What is your name, my gentle angel?” “No, no, no. You are too young. Too full of life. It can’t be you. These are not the hands she knew, this is not the face she knew, this is not a voice she ever heard. No, no. She was, and he was, before all those slow-moving years I spent in the North Tower—years ago. What is your name, my gentle angel?”
Hailing his softened tone and manner, his daughter fell upon her knees before him, with her appealing hands upon his breast. Noticing that he had softened his tone of voice and behavior, his daughter fell down on her knees in front of him and placed her hands on his chest.
“O, sir, at another time you shall know my name, and who my mother was, and who my father, and how I never knew their hard, hard history. But I cannot tell you at this time, and I cannot tell you here. All that I may tell you, here and now, is, that I pray to you to touch me and to bless me. Kiss me, kiss me! O my dear, my dear!” “Oh, sir! Some other time I will tell you my name, and who my mother was, and who my father was, and how I never knew their awful story. But I can’t tell you right now, not here. All I can ask right now is that you touch me and give me your blessing. Kiss me, kiss me! Oh my dear, my dear!”
His cold white head mingled with her radiant hair, which warmed and lighted it as though it were the light of Freedom shining on him. His cold white hair mixed with her shining blond hair, and it was as if her hair warmed his like the light of freedom shining on him.
“If you hear in my voice—I don’t know that it is so, but I hope it is—if you hear in my voice any resemblance to a voice that once was sweet music in your ears, weep for it, weep for it! If you touch, in touching my hair, anything that recalls a beloved head that lay on your breast when you were young and free, weep for it, weep for it! If, when I hint to you of a Home that is before us, where I will be true to you with all my duty and with all my faithful service, I bring back the remembrance of a Home long desolate, while your poor heart pined away, weep for it, weep for it!” “If my voice—I don’t know if it does, but if so—if it reminds you of a voice that was once sweet music in your ears, cry for it! If touching my hair reminds you of the head that once rested on your chest when you were young and free, cry for it! If I hint that a home awaits you where I will take care of you, and it reminds you of the long-empty home you remembered from afar, cry for it!”