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A Tale of Two Cities

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But, he had oppressed no man, he had imprisoned no man; he was so far from having harshly exacted payment of his dues, that he had relinquished them of his own will, thrown himself on a world with no favour in it, won his own private place there, and earned his own bread. Monsieur Gabelle had held the impoverished and involved estate on written instructions, to spare the people, to give them what little there was to give—such fuel as the heavy creditors would let them have in the winter, and such produce as could be saved from the same grip in the summer—and no doubt he had put the fact in plea and proof, for his own safety, so that it could not but appear now. But he hadn’t hurt anyone, and he hadn’t imprisoned anyone. He was so far from having cruelly forced the peasants to pay taxes to him that he had given up his social position of his own free will. Instead he had gone out into the world without the advantage of his title to earn a living for himself. Monsieur Gabelle had taken care of the poor and complex estate under written orders. He was told to spare the people, to give them what little there was left—whatever fuel the tax collectors would let them have during the winter and whatever food was left during summer. He had put it all in writing so that there would be proof if he needed it now.
This favoured the desperate resolution Charles Darnay had begun to make, that he would go to Paris. This started to persuade Charles Darnay that he needed to go back to Paris.
Yes. Like the mariner in the old story, the winds and streams had driven him within the influence of the Loadstone Rock, and it was drawing him to itself, and he must go. Everything that arose before his mind drifted him on, faster and faster, more and more steadily, to the terrible attraction. His latent uneasiness had been, that bad aims were being worked out in his own unhappy land by bad instruments, and that he who could not fail to know that he was better than they, was not there, trying to do something to stay bloodshed, and assert the claims of mercy and humanity. With this uneasiness half stifled, and half reproaching him, he had been brought to the pointed comparison of himself with the brave old gentleman in whom duty was so strong; upon that comparison (injurious to himself) had instantly followed the sneers of Monseigneur, which had stung him bitterly, and those of Stryver, which above all were coarse and galling, for old reasons. Upon those, had followed Gabelle’s letter: the appeal of an innocent prisoner, in danger of death, to his justice, honour, and good name. Yes. Like the

mariner in the old story

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge

mariner in the old story
, he was being pulled back as if to a magnet. He had to go back to France. Everything he thought of inspired him to move faster and more steadily toward France. He had been worried that bad people were making the situation bad in France. As someone who knew better than them, he should be there trying to stop the bloodshed and convincing them to be merciful and humane. With this uneasiness, half suppressed and half reprimanding him, he ended up comparing himself to Gabelle, the old gentleman who had been so dedicated to him. Immediately after this he thought of the sneers of his uncle, the monseigneur, which had stung him so badly, and Stryver’s comments, which bothered him most of all. Then he thought of Gabelle’s letter: the plea of an innocent prisoner who could be executed and have his justice, honor, and good name die with him.
His resolution was made. He must go to Paris. He made his decision. He had to go to Paris.
Yes. The Loadstone Rock was drawing him, and he must sail on, until he struck. He knew of no rock; he saw hardly any danger. The intention with which he had done what he had done, even although he had left it incomplete, presented it before him in an aspect that would be gratefully acknowledged in France on his presenting himself to assert it. Then, that glorious vision of doing good, which is so often the sanguine mirage of so many good minds, arose before him, and he even saw himself in the illusion with some influence to guide this raging Revolution that was running so fearfully wild. Yes. The

Loadstone Rock

magnetite or something that acts as a magnet

Loadstone Rock
was drawing him, and he had to go toward it until he returned to France. He didn’t know that there was danger waiting for him there. He thought the people in France would happily understand the reason why he had done what he did once he arrived to explain himself. He thought of the good deed he had tried to do, which is often the optimistic illusion of many good people, and he saw himself as someone who could help to lead the Revolution that had gotten so out of control.
As he walked to and fro with his resolution made, he considered that neither Lucie nor her father must know of it until he was gone. Lucie should be spared the pain of separation; and her father, always reluctant to turn his thoughts towards the dangerous ground of old, should come to the knowledge of the step, as a step taken, and not in the balance of suspense and doubt. How much of the incompleteness of his situation was referable to her father, through the painful anxiety to avoid reviving old associations of France in his mind, he did not discuss with himself. But, that circumstance too, had had its influence in his course. As he walked back and forth, having made his decision, he thought that neither Lucie nor her father should know about it until he had already left. Lucie should be spared the pain of saying goodbye, and her father, who was always reluctant to think about his past, should find it out as something that had already happened. He shouldn’t have to deal with the suspense of not knowing whether Charles would go. Darnay wouldn’t reflect on how much his doubts about going were because of her father. But Dr. Manette’s circumstances also affected his decision.

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