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A Tale of Two Cities

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“Can I do anything for you, Mr. Stryver?” asked Mr. Lorry, in his business character. “Can I do anything for you, Mr. Stryver? asked Mr. Lorry in a professional way.
“Why, no, thank you; this is a private visit to yourself, Mr. Lorry; I have come for a private word.” “Why, no, thank you. This is a personal visit, Mr. Lorry. I have come to have a word with you in private.”
“Oh indeed!” said Mr. Lorry, bending down his ear, while his eye strayed to the House afar off. “Oh, really?” said Mr. Lorry. He leaned down so that he could hear him but kept looking at the head of the bank far away.
“I am going,” said Mr. Stryver, leaning his arms confidentially on the desk: whereupon, although it was a large double one, there appeared to be not half desk enough for him: “I am going to make an offer of myself in marriage to your agreeable little friend, Miss Manette, Mr. Lorry.” “I am going,” said Mr. Stryver, leaning on the desk. When he did, although the desk was very large, it looked as though there weren’t even half enough desk for him. “I am going to ask your friend, Miss Manette, to marry me, Mr. Lorry.”
“Oh dear me!” cried Mr. Lorry, rubbing his chin, and looking at his visitor dubiously. “Oh dear me!” yelled Mr. Lorry, rubbing his chin and looking at Mr. Stryver doubtfully.
“Oh dear me, sir?” repeated Stryver, drawing back. “Oh dear you, sir? What may your meaning be, Mr. Lorry?” “‘Oh, dear me,’ sir?” repeated Stryver, pulling away. “Oh, dear you, sir? What do you mean, Mr. Lorry?”
“My meaning,” answered the man of business, “is, of course, friendly and appreciative, and that it does you the greatest credit, and—in short, my meaning is everything you could desire. But—really, you know, Mr. Stryver—” Mr. Lorry paused, and shook his head at him in the oddest manner, as if he were compelled against his will to add, internally, “you know there really is so much too much of you!” “I mean it in a friendly way,” answered Mr. Lorry professionally. “It speaks well for you, and, in short, I wish you everything you desire. But really, you know, Mr. Stryver—” Mr. Lorry paused. He shook his head at him strangely, as if he couldn’t help thinking, “You know, you are just too large!”
“Well!” said Stryver, slapping the desk with his contentious hand, opening his eyes wider, and taking a long breath, “if I understand you, Mr. Lorry, I’ll be hanged!” “Well!” said Stryver, slapping the desk with his hand, opening his eyes wide, and taking a deep breath. “If I understand what you’re saying, Mr. Lorry, then you think she will not accept!”
Mr. Lorry adjusted his little wig at both ears as a means towards that end, and bit the feather of a pen. Mr. Lorry adjusted his little wig at his ears and bit the feather tip of his quill pen.
“D—n it all, sir!” said Stryver, staring at him, “am I not eligible?” “Damn it all, sir!” said Stryver. He looked at him intensely. “Aren’t I good enough to marry her?”
“Oh dear yes! Yes. Oh yes, you’re eligible!” said Mr. Lorry. “If you say eligible, you are eligible.” “Oh, dear, yes! Yes, you’re good enough!” said Mr. Lorry. “If the question is if you’re good enough, then yes, you’re good enough.”
“Am I not prosperous?” asked Stryver. “Aren’t I successful?” asked Stryver.
“Oh! if you come to prosperous, you are prosperous,” said Mr. Lorry. “Oh! If you’re asking if you are successful, then yes. You are successful,” said Mr. Lorry.
“And advancing?” “And aren’t I becoming more successful?”
“If you come to advancing you know,” said Mr. Lorry, delighted to be able to make another admission, “nobody can doubt that.” “If the question is if you’re becoming more successful, then no one can doubt that,” said Mr. Lorry, who was thrilled to be able to agree with him.
“Then what on earth is your meaning, Mr. Lorry?” demanded Stryver, perceptibly crestfallen. “Then what on earth do you mean, Mr. Lorry?” asked Mr. Stryver, visibly hurt.
“Well! I—Were you going there now?” asked Mr. Lorry. “Well! I—were you on your way to Miss Manette’s house right now?” asked Mr. Lorry.
“Straight!” said Stryver, with a plump of his fist on the desk. “I’m going straight there!” said Stryver, with a thump of his fat fist on the desk.
“Then I think I wouldn’t, if I was you.” “I think I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
“Why?” said Stryver. “Now, I’ll put you in a corner,” forensically shaking a forefinger at him. “You are a man of business and bound to have a reason. State your reason. Why wouldn’t you go?” “Why not?” asked Stryver. “Now I want to know the truth from you.” He pointed his finger at him and shook it. “You are a businessman and you must have a reason. Tell me your reason. Why wouldn’t you go?”
“Because,” said Mr. Lorry, “I wouldn’t go on such an object without having some cause to believe that I should succeed.” “Because I wouldn’t do such a thing unless I had some reason to think that I would succeed,” said Mr. Lorry.
“D—n ME!” cried Stryver, “but this beats everything.” “Damn me!” yelled Stryver. “Doesn’t that beat all!”
Mr. Lorry glanced at the distant House, and glanced at the angry Stryver. Mr. Lorry looked at the head banker in the corner and looked back at Mr. Stryver, who was now angry.
“Here’s a man of business—a man of years—a man of experience—IN a Bank,” said Stryver; “and having summed up three leading reasons for complete success, he says there’s no reason at all! Says it with his head on!” Mr. Stryver remarked upon the peculiarity as if it would have been infinitely less remarkable if he had said it with his head off. “You are a businessman. You are old and experienced. You work in a bank,” said Mr. Stryver. “And just having told you three good reasons why I should succeed, you say there is no reason at all! You say it with your head on your shoulders!” Mr. Stryver commented on it as if it would have been less surprising if he had said it with his head off his shoulders.

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