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A Tale of Two Cities

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“There! I beg your pardon!” said Stryver. “I beg your pardon!” said Stryver.
“Granted. Thank you. Well, Mr. Stryver, I was about to say: —it might be painful to you to find yourself mistaken, it might be painful to Doctor Manette to have the task of being explicit with you, it might be very painful to Miss Manette to have the task of being explicit with you. You know the terms upon which I have the honour and happiness to stand with the family. If you please, committing you in no way, representing you in no way, I will undertake to correct my advice by the exercise of a little new observation and judgment expressly brought to bear upon it. If you should then be dissatisfied with it, you can but test its soundness for yourself; if, on the other hand, you should be satisfied with it, and it should be what it now is, it may spare all sides what is best spared. What do you say?” “Then I give you my pardon. Thank you. Well, Mr. Stryver, I was about to say that it might hurt to realize that you are wrong. It might hurt Dr. Manette to have to explain it to you. It might hurt Miss Manette very much to have to explain it to you. You know that I am lucky enough to have a close relationship with the family. If you don’t mind, without committing you or representing you in any way, I will try to gather some more information and judge its meaning so I can give you the best advice. If you then disagree with my advice, you can try it out for yourself. If, on the other hand, you agree with it, it might spare everyone a lot of trouble. What do you say?”
“How long would you keep me in town?” “How long would I have to stay in town?”
“Oh! It is only a question of a few hours. I could go to Soho in the evening, and come to your chambers afterwards.” “Oh! Only a few hours. I could go to the Manette’s house in Soho tonight and come to your apartment afterward.”
“Then I say yes,” said Stryver: “I won’t go up there now, I am not so hot upon it as that comes to; I say yes, and I shall expect you to look in to-night. Good morning.” “Then I agree,” said Stryver. “I won’t go there now. I’m not so anxious that I need to do that. I agree and I will wait for you to go there tonight. Good day.”
Then Mr. Stryver turned and burst out of the Bank, causing such a concussion of air on his passage through, that to stand up against it bowing behind the two counters, required the utmost remaining strength of the two ancient clerks. Those venerable and feeble persons were always seen by the public in the act of bowing, and were popularly believed, when they had bowed a customer out, still to keep on bowing in the empty office until they bowed another customer in. Then Mr. Stryver turned away and charged out of Tellson’s Bank. He caused such a forceful breeze to follow him that it almost knocked over the two old clerks. The two old men were always bowing to the customers on their way out, and many people believed that after they had bowed a customer out, they just kept bowing in the empty office until another customer came in and brought them back upright.
The barrister was keen enough to divine that the banker would not have gone so far in his expression of opinion on any less solid ground than moral certainty. Unprepared as he was for the large pill he had to swallow, he got it down. “And now,” said Mr. Stryver, shaking his forensic forefinger at the Temple in general, when it was down, “my way out of this, is, to put you all in the wrong.” Mr. Stryver was smart enough to realize that the banker wouldn’t have said so much about his opinion unless he were sure of it. As unprepared as he was to receive Mr. Lorry’s unwanted advice, he followed it. “And now,” said Mr. Stryver, pointing his finger and shaking it at all of Temple Bar, “my way out of this is to prove you’re all wrong.”
It was a bit of the art of an Old Bailey tactician, in which he found great relief. “You shall not put me in the wrong, young lady,” said Mr. Stryver; “I’ll do that for you.” He soothed himself with a trick used by lawyers at the Old Bailey. “You won’t prove me wrong, Miss Manette,” said Mr. Stryver. “I’ll prove myself wrong.”
Accordingly, when Mr. Lorry called that night as late as ten o’clock, Mr. Stryver, among a quantity of books and papers littered out for the purpose, seemed to have nothing less on his mind than the subject of the morning. He even showed surprise when he saw Mr. Lorry, and was altogether in an absent and preoccupied state. So, when Mr. Lorry came to Mr. Stryver’s place at ten o’clock that night, Mr. Stryver had surrounded himself with piles of books and papers. He seemed to have no interest in their conversation from the morning. He even acted surprised when he saw Mr. Lorry and pretended to be preoccupied and distracted.
“Well!” said that good-natured emissary, after a full half-hour of bootless attempts to bring him round to the question. “I have been to Soho.” “Well!” said Mr. Lorry pleasantly, after spending half an hour trying unsuccessfully to get Mr. Stryver to bring up the subject. “ I have been to Soho.”

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