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A Tale of Two Cities

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“Genuine truth, Mr. Darnay, trust me! I have gone aside from my purpose; I was speaking about our being friends. Now, you know me; you know I am incapable of all the higher and better flights of men. If you doubt it, ask Stryver, and he’ll tell you so.” “It’s the complete truth, Mr. Darnay, trust me! I have gone off track from what I wanted to say. Now you know me better. You know I’m incapable of being a better man. If you don’t believe me, ask Mr. Stryver, and he’ll tell you so.”
“I prefer to form my own opinion, without the aid of his.” “I would rather form my own opinion without hearing from Mr. Stryver.”
“Well! At any rate you know me as a dissolute dog, who has never done any good, and never will.” “Well, at any rate you know that I’m a depraved dog. I’ve never done anything good in my life and never will.”
“I don’t know that you ‘never will.’” “I don’t know if its true that you never will.”
“But I do, and you must take my word for it. Well! If you could endure to have such a worthless fellow, and a fellow of such indifferent reputation, coming and going at odd times, I should ask that I might be permitted to come and go as a privileged person here; that I might be regarded as an useless (and I would add, if it were not for the resemblance I detected between you and me, an unornamental) piece of furniture, tolerated for its old service, and taken no notice of. I doubt if I should abuse the permission. It is a hundred to one if I should avail myself of it four times in a year. It would satisfy me, I dare say, to know that I had it.” “But I do. You must take my word for it. Well! If you could stand to have such a worthless man with such a bad reputation coming and going here at odd hours, might I be allowed to come and go here as a friend? Think of me as a useless piece of furniture that is tolerated because it’s been around for so long, and no one notices it. I would call myself an unattractive piece of furniture too if you and I didn’t look alike. I won’t abuse your permission. I’d bet a hundred to one that I will only take you up on it four times within a year. It would make me happy just to know that I had permission to come if I wanted to.”
“Will you try?” “Will you try to come?”
“That is another way of saying that I am placed on the footing I have indicated. I thank you, Darnay. I may use that freedom with your name?” “That’s another way of saying that you will grant me what I’ve asked. Thank you, Mr. Darnay. I may say that you and I are friends?”
“I think so, Carton, by this time.” “I should think by now that you would, Mr. Carton.”
They shook hands upon it, and Sydney turned away. Within a minute afterwards, he was, to all outward appearance, as unsubstantial as ever. They shook hands on the matter, and Sydney Carton turned away. Less than a minute afterward he was as unnoticeable as ever.
When he was gone, and in the course of an evening passed with Miss Pross, the Doctor, and Mr. Lorry, Charles Darnay made some mention of this conversation in general terms, and spoke of Sydney Carton as a problem of carelessness and recklessness. He spoke of him, in short, not bitterly or meaning to bear hard upon him, but as anybody might who saw him as he showed himself. Mr. Carton left, and Charles Darnay spent the evening with Miss Pross, the doctor, and Mr. Lorry. Darnay mentioned this conversation to them in passing, and he said it was a shame that Sydney Carton was such a careless and reckless man. He spoke of him, in other words, not with bitterness or meanness, but as anyone might who saw the way Mr. Carton behaved.
He had no idea that this could dwell in the thoughts of his fair young wife; but, when he afterwards joined her in their own rooms, he found her waiting for him with the old pretty lifting of the forehead strongly marked. He had no idea that his beautiful young wife might be thinking about Mr. Carton, too. But later, when he joined her in their own rooms, she was waiting for him with the usual pretty frown on her forehead.
“We are thoughtful to-night!” said Darnay, drawing his arm about her. “You look concerned about something tonight!” said Darnay, putting his arm around her.
“Yes, dearest Charles,” with her hands on his breast, and the inquiring and attentive expression fixed upon him; “we are rather thoughtful to-night, for we have something on our mind to-night.” “Yes, dearest Charles,” she said, with her hands on his chest, She looked at him with a questioning expression. “I am rather concerned tonight, for I have something on my mind.”
“What is it, my Lucie?” “What is it, my Lucie?”
“Will you promise not to press one question on me, if I beg you not to ask it?” “Will you promise not to ask any questions of me if I ask you not to?”
“Will I promise? What will I not promise to my Love?” “Will I promise? What wouldn’t I promise you, my love?”
What, indeed, with his hand putting aside the golden hair from the cheek, and his other hand against the heart that beat for him! He brushed her golden hair from her cheek and placed his other hand against her heart.
“I think, Charles, poor Mr. Carton deserves more consideration and respect than you expressed for him to-night.” “I think, Charles, that poor Mr. Carton deserves more consideration and respect than you gave him tonight.”

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