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A Tale of Two Cities

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“When I speak of success, I speak of success with the young lady; and when I speak of causes and reasons to make success probable, I speak of causes and reasons that will tell as such with the young lady. The young lady, my good sir,” said Mr. Lorry, mildly tapping the Stryver arm, “the young lady. The young lady goes before all.” “When I talk about success, I’m talking about success with the young lady. And when I talk about reasons why you would be likely to succeed, I talk about reasons that would persuade the young lady. The young lady, my good sir,” said Mr. Lorry tapping Stryver gently on the arm, “The young lady’s happiness is the most important thing.”
“Then you mean to tell me, Mr. Lorry,” said Stryver, squaring his elbows, “that it is your deliberate opinion that the young lady at present in question is a mincing Fool?” “Then what you’re telling me, Mr. Lorry,” said Stryver turning toward him, “is that you think Miss Manette is an idiot?”
“Not exactly so. I mean to tell you, Mr. Stryver,” said Mr. Lorry, reddening, “that I will hear no disrespectful word of that young lady from any lips; and that if I knew any man—which I hope I do not—whose taste was so coarse, and whose temper was so overbearing, that he could not restrain himself from speaking disrespectfully of that young lady at this desk, not even Tellson’s should prevent my giving him a piece of my mind.” “Not exactly. What I mean, Mr. Stryver,” said Mr. Lorry, who was turning red in the face, “is that I will not let anyone speak badly of Miss Manette. If I knew any man—and I hope I do not—who had such poor taste and such a bad temper that he couldn’t keep himself from speaking badly of Miss Manette here at my desk, even the fact that we are in Tellson’s Bank wouldn’t stop me from telling him off.”
The necessity of being angry in a suppressed tone had put Mr. Stryver’s blood-vessels into a dangerous state when it was his turn to be angry; Mr. Lorry’s veins, methodical as their courses could usually be, were in no better state now it was his turn. The fact that Mr. Stryver was so angry but had to keep his voice down made his veins stand out. Mr. Lorry’s veins, as calm as they usually were, were just as bad now that it was his turn to speak.
“That is what I mean to tell you, sir,” said Mr. Lorry. “Pray let there be no mistake about it.” “That is what I’m trying to tell you, sir,” said Mr. Lorry. “Let’s be clear about that.”
Mr. Stryver sucked the end of a ruler for a little while, and then stood hitting a tune out of his teeth with it, which probably gave him the toothache. He broke the awkward silence by saying: Mr. Stryver sucked on the end of a ruler for a little while, then stood tapping the ruler against his teeth, which probably gave him a toothache. He broke the awkward silence by saying:
“This is something new to me, Mr. Lorry. You deliberately advise me not to go up to Soho and offer myself—MYself, Stryver of the King’s Bench bar?” “This is strange to me, Mr. Lorry. You are telling me not to go to Miss Manette’s house in Soho and offer myself to her. Me! Stryver, the successful lawyer of the King’s Bench bar?”
“Do you ask me for my advice, Mr. Stryver?” “Are you asking me for advice, Mr. Stryver?”
“Yes, I do.” “Yes, I am.”
“Very good. Then I give it, and you have repeated it correctly.” “Very good. Then I have given you my advice and you have repeated it correctly.”
“And all I can say of it is,” laughed Stryver with a vexed laugh, “that this—ha, ha!—beats everything past, present, and to come.” “All I can say to that,” laughed Stryver, who was clearly annoyed, “is that this—ha, ha! This beats everything!”
“Now understand me,” pursued Mr. Lorry. “As a man of business, I am not justified in saying anything about this matter, for, as a man of business, I know nothing of it. But, as an old fellow, who has carried Miss Manette in his arms, who is the trusted friend of Miss Manette and of her father too, and who has a great affection for them both, I have spoken. The confidence is not of my seeking, recollect. Now, you think I may not be right?” “Now understand,” continued Mr. Lorry. “As a businessman, I am not qualified to say anything about this. As a businessman, I know nothing about love and marriage. But as an old man who carried Miss Manette in his arms when she was a baby, and as a trusted friend of Miss Manette and of her father who cares very much for both of them, I have spoken. Remember, I did not come to you with this advice. You came to me. Now, do you think I might be wrong?”
“Not I!” said Stryver, whistling. “I can’t undertake to find third parties in common sense; I can only find it for myself. I suppose sense in certain quarters; you suppose mincing bread-and-butter nonsense. It’s new to me, but you are right, I dare say.” “Not I!” said Stryver, whistling. “I can’t seem to find third parties with common sense. I can only find it in myself. I believe I have sense in certain matters. You believe nonsense. It’s new to me, but I think you might be right.”
“What I suppose, Mr. Stryver, I claim to characterise for myself—And understand me, sir,” said Mr. Lorry, quickly flushing again, “I will not—not even at Tellson’s—have it characterised for me by any gentleman breathing.” “I believe what I believe, Mr. Stryver. And understand, sir,” said Mr. Lorry, quickly turning red again, “ I will not—not even in Tellson’s Bank—have another man alive criticize me for it.”

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