Skip over navigation

A Tale of Two Cities

Original Text

Modern Text

“Will nothing of it remain? O Mr. Carton, think again! Try again!” “Nothing will come of it? Oh, Mr. Carton, think about it again! Try to start over!”
“No, Miss Manette; all through it, I have known myself to be quite undeserving. And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire—a fire, however, inseparable in its nature from myself, quickening nothing, lighting nothing, doing no service, idly burning away.” “No, Miss Manette. All this time I have known that I do not deserve it. And yet I have been weak enough, and still am weak enough, to want you to know how you took me, a poor, broken man, and made me want to be a better man. But still, I will only waste away and amount to nothing.”
“Since it is my misfortune, Mr. Carton, to have made you more unhappy than you were before you knew me—” “Since I have caused you to be more unhappy than you were before you knew me, Mr. Carton—”
“Don’t say that, Miss Manette, for you would have reclaimed me, if anything could. You will not be the cause of my becoming worse.” “Don’t say that, Miss Manette. If anyone could have saved me, it would have been you. You will not be the reason I get worse.”
“Since the state of your mind that you describe, is, at all events, attributable to some influence of mine—this is what I mean, if I can make it plain—can I use no influence to serve you? Have I no power for good, with you, at all?” “Since the condition that you have described is partly my fault—that’s what you mean, if I can say it plainly—can’t I be of service to you? Am I not able to help you at all?”
“The utmost good that I am capable of now, Miss Manette, I have come here to realise. Let me carry through the rest of my misdirected life, the remembrance that I opened my heart to you, last of all the world; and that there was something left in me at this time which you could deplore and pity.” “The most good that I can do now, Miss Manette, is why I have come here. Let me live the rest of my wasteful life knowing that I told you my feelings and that there was still something left in me now worth pitying.”
“Which I entreated you to believe, again and again, most fervently, with all my heart, was capable of better things, Mr. Carton!” “I beg you again and again to believe that you are able to do better things with your life, Mr. Carton!”
“Entreat me to believe it no more, Miss Manette. I have proved myself, and I know better. I distress you; I draw fast to an end. Will you let me believe, when I recall this day, that the last confidence of my life was reposed in your pure and innocent breast, and that it lies there alone, and will be shared by no one?” “Don’t beg me to believe it anymore, Miss Manette. I know what I am. I’m upsetting you, so I will finish what I have to say. Will you let me believe, when I remember this day, that I told you the last secret of my life and that you kept it? And that no one will ever know about it?”
“If that will be a consolation to you, yes.” “If that will bring you comfort, yes.”
“Not even by the dearest one ever to be known to you?” “Not even the person you love the most?”
“Mr. Carton,” she answered, after an agitated pause, “the secret is yours, not mine; and I promise to respect it.” “Mr. Carton,” she answered after pausing nervously, “it’s your secret, not mine. I promise to respect that and to tell no one.”
“Thank you. And again, God bless you.” “Thank you. And again, God bless you.”
He put her hand to his lips, and moved towards the door. He kissed her hand and walked toward the door.
“Be under no apprehension, Miss Manette, of my ever resuming this conversation by so much as a passing word. I will never refer to it again. If I were dead, that could not be surer than it is henceforth. In the hour of my death, I shall hold sacred the one good remembrance—and shall thank and bless you for it—that my last avowal of myself was made to you, and that my name, and faults, and miseries were gently carried in your heart. May it otherwise be light and happy!” “Don’t worry. I will never continue this conversation with you again, Miss Manette. I will never mention it. That couldn’t be more certain than if I were dead. When I die, I will cherish my one good memory. I shall thank and bless you for the fact that the last good words I spoke about myself were spoken to you. And that my name, my faults, and my cares were told to you. Otherwise I hope you are happy and carefree!”
He was so unlike what he had ever shown himself to be, and it was so sad to think how much he had thrown away, and how much he every day kept down and perverted, that Lucie Manette wept mournfully for him as he stood looking back at her. He was acting so unlike he ever had before, and it was so sad to think about what he threw away with his wasted and debauched life, that Lucie Manette cried for him. He stood there looking at her.

More Help

Previous Next