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A Tale of Two Cities

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A wonderful corner for echoes, it has been remarked, that corner where the Doctor lived. Ever busily winding the golden thread which bound her husband, and her father, and herself, and her old directress and companion, in a life of quiet bliss, Lucie sat in the still house in the tranquilly resounding corner, listening to the echoing footsteps of years. It has been mentioned that the street corner where Dr. Manette lived was a wonderful place to hear echoes. As she lived her life of quiet bliss with her husband, her father, and Miss Pross, and bound them together with her love, Lucie sat in the calm house in the tranquil corner, listening to the echoing footsteps over the years.
At first, there were times, though she was a perfectly happy young wife, when her work would slowly fall from her hands, and her eyes would be dimmed. For, there was something coming in the echoes, something light, afar off, and scarcely audible yet, that stirred her heart too much. Fluttering hopes and doubts—hopes, of a love as yet unknown to her: doubts, of her remaining upon earth, to enjoy that new delight—divided her breast. Among the echoes then, there would arise the sound of footsteps at her own early grave; and thoughts of the husband who would be left so desolate, and who would mourn for her so much, swelled to her eyes, and broke like waves. At first there were times when whatever she was working on would fall slowly out of her hands and she would look sad, even though overall she was a completely happy young wife. For there was something coming in the echoes, something far away and barely able to be heard, that upset her. She was caught between feelings of hope and doubt—hopes of a love still unknown to her and doubts that she would stay on earth long enough to enjoy that love. In the echoes she would hear the sound of footsteps at her own grave, as if she had died young, and she would think of her husband whom she had left so alone. In her imagination, he would mourn so much for her that his eyes would overflow with tears.
That time passed, and her little Lucie lay on her bosom. Then, among the advancing echoes, there was the tread of her tiny feet and the sound of her prattling words. Let greater echoes resound as they would, the young mother at the cradle side could always hear those coming. They came, and the shady house was sunny with a child’s laugh, and the Divine friend of children, to whom in her trouble she had confided hers, seemed to take her child in his arms, as He took the child of old, and made it a sacred joy to her. That time passed, and now she had her little Lucie, whom she cradled in her arms. Then she would hear among the echoes the sound of her daughter’s tiny feet and her baby talk. She sat beside her cradle and could always hear those sounds, even when the other echoes were very loud. The other echoes came, and the shaded house was filled with a child’s laughter. God, the friend of children, to whom Lucie had told her troubles, seemed to take her child in his arms, as he once took the child Christ, and made little Lucie a sacred joy to her.
Ever busily winding the golden thread that bound them all together, weaving the service of her happy influence through the tissue of all their lives, and making it predominate nowhere, Lucie heard in the echoes of years none but friendly and soothing sounds. Her husband’s step was strong and prosperous among them; her father’s firm and equal. Lo, Miss Pross, in harness of string, awakening the echoes, as an unruly charger, whip-corrected, snorting and pawing the earth under the plane-tree in the garden! In the years that she worked to bring them closer together and make them a happy family, Lucie heard in the echoes nothing but friendly and soothing sounds. Her husband was strong and prosperous. Her father was stable and healthy. Miss Pross was like an unruly

charger

a large, strong cavalry horse

charger
who had been tamed and domesticated, and snorted and pawed at the ground under the plane tree in the garden.
Even when there were sounds of sorrow among the rest, they were not harsh nor cruel. Even when golden hair, like her own, lay in a halo on a pillow round the worn face of a little boy, and he said, with a radiant smile, “Dear papa and mamma, I am very sorry to leave you both, and to leave my pretty sister; but I am called, and I must go!” those were not tears all of agony that wetted his young mother’s cheek, as the spirit departed from her embrace that had been entrusted to it. Suffer them and forbid them not. They see my Father’s face. O Father, blessed words! Even when sad things happened, the echoes were neither harsh nor cruel. Even when they had a son who became sick, Lucie’s tears were not all of agony. Before he died, their son, who had blond hair like his mother’s, lay in bed and said, smiling radiantly, “Dear Papa and Mamma, I’m sorry I have to leave you and my pretty sister, but I am called and must go!” Lucie cried but did not fight back the tears. She knew her son was going to God.
Thus, the rustling of an Angel’s wings got blended with the other echoes, and they were not wholly of earth, but had in them that breath of Heaven. Sighs of the winds that blew over a little garden-tomb were mingled with them also, and both were audible to Lucie, in a hushed murmur—like the breathing of a summer sea asleep upon a sandy shore—as the little Lucie, comically studious at the task of the morning, or dressing a doll at her mother’s footstool, chattered in the tongues of the Two Cities that were blended in her life. Thus, it was like she heard the beating of angel’s wings mixing in with the echoes. They sounded unearthly, as if they came from heaven. The sound of breezes blowing over a little tomb in a garden mixed with them also, and Lucie heard both of these, in a hushed murmur—like a summer sea lapping against a sandy shore. Little Lucie, so serious about her morning’s work that she was funny to see, or dressing a doll near her mother’s footstool, chattered in English and French—the languages of London and Paris, which had mixed in with her life.

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