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A Tale of Two Cities

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Young Jerry relieved his father with dutiful interest, and reported No job in his absence. The bank closed, the ancient clerks came out, the usual watch was set, and Mr. Cruncher and his son went home to tea. Young Jerry had covered for his father in his absence and told him that there had been no work while he was gone. The bank closed, the old clerks came out, the watchmen took their place, and Mr. Cruncher and his son went home to tea.
“Now, I tell you where it is!” said Mr. Cruncher to his wife, on entering. “If, as a honest tradesman, my wenturs goes wrong to-night, I shall make sure that you’ve been praying again me, and I shall work you for it just the same as if I seen you do it.” “I tell you, now,” Mr. Cruncher told his wife as he came in, “if, as an honest businessman, my plans go wrong tonight, I’ll know that you have been praying against me and I’ll punish you for it just the same as if I’d seen you do it.”
The dejected Mrs. Cruncher shook her head. The unhappy Mrs. Cruncher shook her head.
“Why, you’re at it afore my face!” said Mr. Cruncher, with signs of angry apprehension. “Why, you’re doing it in front of my face!” said Mr. Cruncher, angry and anxious.
“I am saying nothing.” “I’m not saying anything.”
“Well, then; don’t meditate nothing. You might as well flop as meditate. You may as well go again me one way as another. Drop it altogether.” “Well, then, don’t think anything either. You might as well kneel down and pray as think. You might as well betray me one way or another. Just stop it altogether.”
“Yes, Jerry.” “Yes, Jerry,” said his wife.
“Yes, Jerry,” repeated Mr. Cruncher sitting down to tea. “Ah! It IS yes, Jerry. That’s about it. You may say yes, Jerry.” “‘Yes, Jerry,’” repeated Mr. Cruncher sitting down to his tea. “Ah! That’s right. ‘Yes, Jerry.’ That’s about all you are allowed to say. You may say ‘Yes, Jerry.’”
Mr. Cruncher had no particular meaning in these sulky corroborations, but made use of them, as people not unfrequently do, to express general ironical dissatisfaction. Mr. Cruncher didn’t mean anything particular with these words, but he used them sarcastically, as people often do, to express unhappiness.
“You and your yes, Jerry,” said Mr. Cruncher, taking a bite out of his bread-and-butter, and seeming to help it down with a large invisible oyster out of his saucer. “Ah! I think so. I believe you.” “You and your ‘Yes, Jerry,’” said Mr. Cruncher, taking a bite of his bread and butter. He seemed to take an invisible oyster out of his saucer and eat it. “Ah! I think so. I believe you.”
“You are going out to-night?” asked his decent wife, when he took another bite. “You’re going out tonight?” asked his decent wife after he had taken another bite.”
“Yes, I am.” “Yes, I am.”
“May I go with you, father?” asked his son, briskly. “Can I go with you, Father?” asked his son quickly.
“No, you mayn’t. I’m a going—as your mother knows—a fishing. That’s where I’m going to. Going a fishing.” “No, you can’t. I’m going fishing, as your mother knows. That’s where I’m going. I’m going fishing.”
“Your fishing-rod gets rayther rusty; don’t it, father?” “Your fishing rod gets pretty rusty, doesn’t it, Father?”
“Never you mind.” “Never mind that.”
“Shall you bring any fish home, father?” “Are you going to bring any fish home, Father?”
“If I don’t, you’ll have short commons, to-morrow,” returned that gentleman, shaking his head; “that’s questions enough for you; I ain’t a going out, till you’ve been long abed.” “If I don’t, you’ll have very little food tomorrow,” answered his father, shaking his head. “That’s enough questions from you. I’m not going out until you’ve been in bed for a long time.”
He devoted himself during the remainder of the evening to keeping a most vigilant watch on Mrs. Cruncher, and sullenly holding her in conversation that she might be prevented from meditating any petitions to his disadvantage. With this view, he urged his son to hold her in conversation also, and led the unfortunate woman a hard life by dwelling on any causes of complaint he could bring against her, rather than he would leave her for a moment to her own reflections. The devoutest person could have rendered no greater homage to the efficacy of an honest prayer than he did in this distrust of his wife. It was as if a professed unbeliever in ghosts should be frightened by a ghost story. He spent the rest of the night watching Mrs. Cruncher closely. He kept talking to her so that she wouldn’t have time to think any evil thoughts about him. He told his son to keep talking to her too for the same reason, and he harassed the woman by talking about all the complaints he had against her rather than leave her to her own thoughts for a moment. The most religious person couldn’t have believed more in the power of honest prayer than he believed in his wife’s plotting against him. It was as if a person who says he doesn’t believe in ghosts were frightened by a ghost story.
“And mind you!” said Mr. Cruncher. “No games to-morrow! If I, as a honest tradesman, succeed in providing a jinte of meat or two, none of your not touching of it, and sticking to bread. If I, as a honest tradesman, am able to provide a little beer, none of your declaring on water. When you go to Rome, do as Rome does. Rome will be a ugly customer to you, if you don’t. I’m your Rome, you know.” “And remember!” said Mr. Cruncher. “ Don’t play around tomorrow! If I, an honest businessman, am able to put a joint of meat on the table, you won’t decide to not eat it and only eat bread. And if I, an honest businessman, am able to get a little bit of beer, you won’t decide to only drink water. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Rome will treat you poorly if you don’t. I am your Rome, you know.

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