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A Tale of Two Cities

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More months, to the number of twelve, had come and gone, and Mr. Charles Darnay was established in England as a higher teacher of the French language who was conversant with French literature. In this age, he would have been a Professor; in that age, he was a Tutor. He read with young men who could find any leisure and interest for the study of a living tongue spoken all over the world, and he cultivated a taste for its stores of knowledge and fancy. He could write of them, besides, in sound English, and render them into sound English. Such masters were not at that time easily found; Princes that had been, and Kings that were to be, were not yet of the Teacher class, and no ruined nobility had dropped out of Tellson’s ledgers, to turn cooks and carpenters. As a tutor, whose attainments made the student’s way unusually pleasant and profitable, and as an elegant translator who brought something to his work besides mere dictionary knowledge, young Mr. Darnay soon became known and encouraged. He was well acquainted, more-over, with the circumstances of his country, and those were of ever-growing interest. So, with great perseverance and untiring industry, he prospered. A year had gone by, and Mr. Charles Darnay was settled in England. He taught the French language and also had knowledge of French literature. Today he would have been a professor, but back then he was a tutor. He taught young men who had the free time and interest to study another language that was spoken all over the world, and he developed a taste for its knowledge and stories. He could also translate them well into English and read them out loud in English. People with such skills were hard to find at that time. Men who were once princes, and supposed to have become kings, hadn’t been forced to work as teachers yet. No ruined nobility had gone broke, lost their accounts at Tellson’s Bank, and become cooks and carpenters yet. Mr. Darnay soon developed a good reputation as a tutor who made his student’s time particularly pleasant and beneficial, and as a graceful translator who brought something to his translations besides what you could find in a dictionary. He knew the situation in France well, and people in England were becoming more and more interested in it. By working tirelessly, he was able to make a good living.
In London, he had expected neither to walk on pavements of gold, nor to lie on beds of roses; if he had had any such exalted expectation, he would not have prospered. He had expected labour, and he found it, and did it and made the best of it. In this, his prosperity consisted. He hadn’t expected things to be easy for him in London. If he had, he wouldn’t have done so well. He had expected hard work, and he found it. He did the work and made the best of it, and by doing this, his success continued.
A certain portion of his time was passed at Cambridge, where he read with undergraduates as a sort of tolerated smuggler who drove a contraband trade in European languages, instead of conveying Greek and Latin through the Custom-house. The rest of his time he passed in London. He spent a certain amount of time at Cambridge, where he taught undergraduates. The school tolerated him as he secretly taught European languages, instead of the official Greek and Latin. He spent the rest of his time in London.
Now, from the days when it was always summer in Eden, to these days when it is mostly winter in fallen latitudes, the world of a man has invariably gone one way—Charles Darnay’s way—the way of the love of a woman. Now, from the beginning of time in the garden of Eden to the current, harsher times, a man’s life has always gone in the same direction. Charles Darnay’s life took the same path: he fell in love with a woman.
He had loved Lucie Manette from the hour of his danger. He had never heard a sound so sweet and dear as the sound of her compassionate voice; he had never seen a face so tenderly beautiful, as hers when it was confronted with his own on the edge of the grave that had been dug for him. But, he had not yet spoken to her on the subject; the assassination at the deserted chateau far away beyond the heaving water and the long, long, dusty roads—the solid stone chateau which had itself become the mere mist of a dream—had been done a year, and he had never yet, by so much as a single spoken word, disclosed to her the state of his heart. He had been in love with Lucie Manette since he had been on trial for his life. He had never heard a sound so sweet and king as the sound of her voice. He had never seen anyone more beautiful than she had been when they met, when he was about to be executed. But he hadn’t told her that he loved her yet. The murder at the empty chateau, over the water and the long, dusty roads far away, had happened a year ago, and now felt like it was part of a dream. Yet he still hadn’t mentioned as much as a single word to her about his feelings.
That he had his reasons for this, he knew full well. It was again a summer day when, lately arrived in London from his college occupation, he turned into the quiet corner in Soho, bent on seeking an opportunity of opening his mind to Doctor Manette. It was the close of the summer day, and he knew Lucie to be out with Miss Pross. He knew well that he had good reasons for keeping quiet. It was a summer day when he arrived in London late after teaching at the college. He turned the corner of the quiet street in Soho where Lucie and Dr. Manette lived. He was set on telling Dr. Manette how he felt about Lucie. It was the end of a summer day, and he knew that Lucie was out with Miss Pross.

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