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A Tale of Two Cities

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It was easier for Mr. Lorry to look in at Tellson’s, than to look out of Tellson’s. He was detained two hours. When he came back, he ascended the old staircase alone, having asked no question of the servant; going thus into the Doctor’s rooms, he was stopped by a low sound of knocking. It was easier for Mr. Lorry to stop in at Tellson’s than it was for him to leave Tellson’s. He was delayed there for two hours. When he came back, he climbed the old staircase alone without bothering the servant. On his way into the doctor’s rooms, he heard the sound of quiet knocking.
“Good God!” he said, with a start. “What’s that?” “Good God!” he said, startled. “What’s that?”
Miss Pross, with a terrified face, was at his ear. “O me, O me! All is lost!” cried she, wringing her hands. “What is to be told to Ladybird? He doesn’t know me, and is making shoes!” Miss Pross was there, looking terrified. “Oh me! Oh me! All is lost!” she cried, wringing her hands. “What will we tell Lucie? He doesn’t recognize me. And he’s making shoes!”
Mr. Lorry said what he could to calm her, and went himself into the Doctor’s room. The bench was turned towards the light, as it had been when he had seen the shoemaker at his work before, and his head was bent down, and he was very busy. Mr. Lorry tried his best to calm her down and went into the doctor’s room. The bench had been turned toward the light, as it had been when Mr. Lorry had seen him making shoes in the attic in Paris. His head was bent over, and he was very busy.
“Doctor Manette. My dear friend, Doctor Manette!” “Dr. Manette. My dear friend, Dr. Manette!”
The Doctor looked at him for a moment—half inquiringly, half as if he were angry at being spoken to—and bent over his work again. The doctor looked at him for a moment, half questioningly and half as if he were angry that someone spoke to him. Then he bent over his work again.
He had laid aside his coat and waistcoat; his shirt was open at the throat, as it used to be when he did that work; and even the old haggard, faded surface of face had come back to him. He worked hard—impatiently—as if in some sense of having been interrupted. He had laid aside his coat and waistcoat. His shirt collar was open the way it used to be when he had been making shoes before. Even his face looked old and worn out like it had before, and he worked hard and impatiently as if he had been interrupted.
Mr. Lorry glanced at the work in his hand, and observed that it was a shoe of the old size and shape. He took up another that was lying by him, and asked what it was. Mr. Lorry looked at what he was working on—a shoe of the old size and shape. He picked up another shoe that was lying near him and asked what it was.
“A young lady’s walking shoe,” he muttered, without looking up. “It ought to have been finished long ago. Let it be.” “It’s a young lady’s walking shoe,” he mumbled without looking up at him. “I should have finished it a long time ago. Leave it alone.”
“But, Doctor Manette. Look at me!” “But, Dr. Manette! Look at me!”
He obeyed, in the old mechanically submissive manner, without pausing in his work. The doctor looked up at him in his old mechanical and submissive manner without stopping his work.
“You know me, my dear friend? Think again. This is not your proper occupation. Think, dear friend!” “Do you know who I am, my dear friend? Think again. You are not a shoemaker. Think, my dear friend!”
Nothing would induce him to speak more. He looked up, for an instant at a time, when he was requested to do so; but, no persuasion would extract a word from him. He worked, and worked, and worked, in silence, and words fell on him as they would have fallen on an echoless wall, or on the air. The only ray of hope that Mr. Lorry could discover, was, that he sometimes furtively looked up without being asked. In that, there seemed a faint expression of curiosity or perplexity—as though he were trying to reconcile some doubts in his mind. Mr. Lorry couldn’t make the doctor say anything more. The doctor would look up for a moment when he was asked to, but he wouldn’t say a word. He worked and worked in silence, and he didn’t seem to hear or respond to anything. The only sign of hope Mr. Lorry noticed was that sometimes he looked up without being asked to. When this happened there seemed to be a faint expression of curiosity and confusion on his face, as if he were trying to make sense of something in his mind.
Two things at once impressed themselves on Mr. Lorry, as important above all others; the first, that this must be kept secret from Lucie; the second, that it must be kept secret from all who knew him. In conjunction with Miss Pross, he took immediate steps towards the latter precaution, by giving out that the Doctor was not well, and required a few days of complete rest. In aid of the kind deception to be practised on his daughter, Miss Pross was to write, describing his having been called away professionally, and referring to an imaginary letter of two or three hurried lines in his own hand, represented to have been addressed to her by the same post. Mr. Lorry immediately realized two very important things. The first was that they had to keep this a secret from Lucie. The second was that it had to be kept secret from everyone else who knew him. Together with Miss Pross they would start to tell people that the doctor was ill and needed a few days of rest. To keep the secret from Lucie, Miss Pross would write to her. She would say that the doctor had gone away on a professional matter and that she had received a letter from him of some two or three hurried lines that the doctor had written and mailed to her by the same post.

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