Skip over navigation

A Tale of Two Cities

Original Text

Modern Text

"If I had never seen Charles, my father, I should have been quite happy with you." “If I had never met Charles, father, I would have been happy being with you.”
He smiled at her unconscious admission that she would have been unhappy without Charles, having seen him; and replied: He smiled at her unconscious admission that she would have been unhappy without Charles once she had seen him. He answered:
"My child, you did see him, and it is Charles. If it had not been Charles, it would have been another. Or, if it had been no other, I should have been the cause, and then the dark part of my life would have cast its shadow beyond myself, and would have fallen on you." “You did see him, my child. Charles is the man you love. If it hadn’t been Charles, it would have been someone else. Or, if it hadn’t been someone else, it would have been my fault. Then my unhappy past would have spread beyond myself and would have made you unhappy too.”
It was the first time, except at the trial, of her ever hearing him refer to the period of his suffering. It gave her a strange and new sensation while his words were in her ears; and she remembered it long afterwards. It was the first time since the trial that she had ever heard him mention his unhappy past. His words made her feel strange in a way she had never felt before. She remembered the feeling for a long time afterwards.
"See!" said the Doctor of Beauvais, raising his hand towards the moon. "I have looked at her from my prison-window, when I could not bear her light. I have looked at her when it has been such torture to me to think of her shining upon what I had lost, that I have beaten my head against my prison-walls. I have looked at her, in a state so dun and lethargic, that I have thought of nothing but the number of horizontal lines I could draw across her at the full, and the number of perpendicular lines with which I could intersect them." He added in his inward and pondering manner, as he looked at the moon, "It was twenty either way, I remember, and the twentieth was difficult to squeeze in." “See!” said Doctor Manette, raising his hand toward the moon. “I have looked at the moon from my prison window when it was painful to look at. I have looked at it when it was such torture to think of the moon shining on all that I had lost that I beat my head against my cell walls. I have looked at the moon when I was so tired and depressed that I thought about nothing accept how many lines I could draw up and down and across it.” He added to himself as he looked at the moon, “it was twenty either direction, I remember, and it was difficult to squeeze the twentieth line in.”
The strange thrill with which she heard him go back to that time, deepened as he dwelt upon it; but, there was nothing to shock her in the manner of his reference. He only seemed to contrast his present cheerfulness and felicity with the dire endurance that was over. The strange feeling she had got stronger as he talked about that time. But he wasn’t telling her in order to shock her. He only seemed to be comparing how happy he was now to the difficult times he had faced before.
"I have looked at her, speculating thousands of times upon the unborn child from whom I had been rent. Whether it was alive. Whether it had been born alive, or the poor mother's shock had killed it. Whether it was a son who would some day avenge his father. (There was a time in my imprisonment, when my desire for vengeance was unbearable.) Whether it was a son who would never know his father's story; who might even live to weigh the possibility of his father's having disappeared of his own will and act. Whether it was a daughter who would grow to be a woman." “I have looked at the moon, speculating thousands of times about the unborn child I was taken from. Wondering if it were alive. Wondering if it had been born alive, or if the poor mother’s shock had killed it. Wondering if it was a boy that would someday avenge his father’s imprisonment. There was a time when I was in prison when I wanted revenge so badly I could hardly stand it. Wondering if it was a boy who would never know what had happened to his father, or who might even think that his father had left on his own. Wondering if it was a daughter who would grow up to be a woman.”
She drew closer to him, and kissed his cheek and his hand. She pulled closer to him and kissed him on the cheek and hand.
"I have pictured my daughter, to myself, as perfectly forgetful of me—rather, altogether ignorant of me, and unconscious of me. I have cast up the years of her age, year after year. I have seen her married to a man who knew nothing of my fate. I have altogether perished from the remembrance of the living, and in the next generation my place was a blank." “I have pictured my daughter as having forgotten about me. That is, not knowing anything about me. I have thought about how old she was year after year. I pictured her marrying a man who knew nothing about what had happened to me. I imagined I had been forgotten by everyone alive and that the next generation would know nothing about me.”

More Help

Previous Next