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A Tale of Two Cities

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Among the talkers, was Stryver, of the King’s Bench Bar, far on his way to state promotion, and, therefore, loud on the theme: broaching to Monseigneur, his devices for blowing the people up and exterminating them from the face of the earth, and doing without them: and for accomplishing many similar objects akin in their nature to the abolition of eagles by sprinkling salt on the tails of the race. Him, Darnay heard with a particular feeling of objection; and Darnay stood divided between going away that he might hear no more, and remaining to interpose his word, when the thing that was to be, went on to shape itself out. Mr. Stryver of the King’s Bench bar was among the people talking. He was well on his way to getting a state promotion, and therefore was talking loudly on the subject. He was explaining to the monseigneurs his plan to blow up the peasants of France and exterminate them from the face of the earth. He wanted to go on without them, and he would eliminate them like you would exterminate eagles by sprinkling salt on their tails. Darnay was particularly offended by Mr. Stryver’s comments, and he felt torn between leaving so that he wouldn’t hear any more or staying and joining the conversation when something happened.
The House approached Mr. Lorry, and laying a soiled and unopened letter before him, asked if he had yet discovered any traces of the person to whom it was addressed? The House laid the letter down so close to Darnay that he saw the direction—the more quickly because it was his own right name. The address, turned into English, ran: The head of the bank approached Mr. Lorry and put a dirty, unopened letter in front of him. He asked if Mr. Lorry had found the person to whom it had been addressed. The head of the bank laid the letter down so close to Darnay that he could see the name, and he noticed it immediately because it was his own name. The address, translated into English, was:
“Very pressing. To Monsieur heretofore the Marquis St. Evremonde, of France. Confided to the cares of Messrs. Tellson and Co., Bankers, London, England.” “Very urgent. To monsieur formerly known as the Marquis St. Evremonde of France. Care of Tellson and Co. Bank, London, England.”
On the marriage morning, Doctor Manette had made it his one urgent and express request to Charles Darnay, that the secret of this name should be—unless he, the Doctor, dissolved the obligation—kept inviolate between them. Nobody else knew it to be his name; his own wife had no suspicion of the fact; Mr. Lorry could have none. On the morning Charles and Lucie got married, Dr. Manette had made one request of Darnay: that the secret of Darnay’s real name should be kept between the two of them, unless the doctor decided otherwise. Nobody else knew that it was Darnay’s name. Even Charles’s wife, Lucie, had no idea about it, and Mr. Lorry couldn’t know.
“No,” said Mr. Lorry, in reply to the House; “I have referred it, I think, to everybody now here, and no one can tell me where this gentleman is to be found.” “No,” said Mr. Lorry, answering the head of the bank. “I think I have asked everybody here, and no one can tell me where to find this gentleman.”
The hands of the clock verging upon the hour of closing the Bank, there was a general set of the current of talkers past Mr. Lorry’s desk. He held the letter out inquiringly; and Monseigneur looked at it, in the person of this plotting and indignant refugee; and Monseigneur looked at it in the person of that plotting and indignant refugee; and This, That, and The Other, all had something disparaging to say, in French or in English, concerning the Marquis who was not to be found. It was almost closing time at the bank, and the group that was talking passed by Mr. Lorry’s desk. He held out the letter to them to see if they knew the name. One after another, the monseigneurs all looked at it resentfully. They all had something disapproving to say, in French or in English, about this scheming, offensive refugee marquis that no one could find.
“Nephew, I believe—but in any case degenerate successor—of the polished Marquis who was murdered,” said one. “Happy to say, I never knew him.” “He’s the nephew, I believe, or at least the unworthy successor, of the elegant marquis who was murdered,” said one of them. “I’m happy to say I never knew him.”
“A craven who abandoned his post,” said another—this Monseigneur had been got out of Paris, legs uppermost and half suffocated, in a load of hay—”some years ago.” “He’s a coward who abandoned his post some years ago,” said another. This particular man had snuck out of Paris upside down, almost suffocating, in a load of hay.
“Infected with the new doctrines,” said a third, eyeing the direction through his glass in passing; “set himself in opposition to the last Marquis, abandoned the estates when he inherited them, and left them to the ruffian herd. They will recompense him now, I hope, as he deserves.” “He was infected with new thought,” said a third, looking at the address though a magnifying glass. “He opposed the last marquis, abandoned the estates when he inherited them, and left them to the peasants. I hope the peasants will pay him back as he deserves.”
“Hey?” cried the blatant Stryver. “Did he though? Is that the sort of fellow? Let us look at his infamous name. D—n the fellow!” “Hey?” yelled Stryver. “Did he? Is that the kind of man he is? Let’s look at his infamous name. Damn the fellow!”