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A Tale of Two Cities

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“Miss Manette, have you seen the prisoner before?” “Miss Manette, have you seen the prisoner before?”
“Yes, sir.” “Yes, sir.”
“Where?” “Where?”
“On board of the packet-ship just now referred to, sir, and on the same occasion.” “On board the ship Mr. Lorry just mentioned. At the same time.”
“You are the young lady just now referred to?” “You are the young woman Mr. Lorry referred to?”
“O! most unhappily, I am!” “Oh! Unfortunately, I am.”
The plaintive tone of her compassion merged into the less musical voice of the Judge, as he said something fiercely: “Answer the questions put to you, and make no remark upon them.” “Just answer the questions simply,” the judge said angrily, cutting off her compassionate voice. “Don’t comment on them.”
“Miss Manette, had you any conversation with the prisoner on that passage across the Channel?” “Miss Manette, did you talk to the prisoner at all during the journey across the Channel?”
“Yes, sir.” “Yes, sir.”
“Recall it.” “Describe the conversation.”
In the midst of a profound stillness, she faintly began: “When the gentleman came on board—” The courtroom was silent as she began quietly: “When the gentleman came on board—”
“Do you mean the prisoner?” inquired the Judge, knitting his brows. “By ‘gentleman,’ do you mean the prisoner?” asked the judge, frowning.
“Yes, my Lord.” “Yes, my lord.”
“Then say the prisoner.” “Then say ‘the prisoner.’”
“When the prisoner came on board, he noticed that my father,” turning her eyes lovingly to him as he stood beside her, “was much fatigued and in a very weak state of health. My father was so reduced that I was afraid to take him out of the air, and I had made a bed for him on the deck near the cabin steps, and I sat on the deck at his side to take care of him. There were no other passengers that night, but we four. The prisoner was so good as to beg permission to advise me how I could shelter my father from the wind and weather, better than I had done. I had not known how to do it well, not understanding how the wind would set when we were out of the harbour. He did it for me. He expressed great gentleness and kindness for my father’s state, and I am sure he felt it. That was the manner of our beginning to speak together.” “When the prisoner came on board, he noticed that my father was very tired and weak.” She looked at her father lovingly as he stood beside her. “My father was in such bad condition that I was afraid to take him inside, and I made a bed for him on the deck near the cabin steps. I sat beside him taking care of him. We were the only four passengers on board that night. The prisoner was kind enough to suggest a better way to shield my father from the wind and weather. I had not known how to do it since I didn’t understand how the wind would blow once we had left the harbor. The prisoner did it for me. He was very gentle and kind toward my father, and I’m sure he was sincere. That is how we started talking.”
“Let me interrupt you for a moment. Had he come on board alone?” “Let me interrupt you for a moment. Did he come on board alone?”
“No.” “No.”
“How many were with him?” “How many people were with him?”
“Two French gentlemen.” “Two French gentlemen.”
“Had they conferred together?” “Did they speak together?”
“They had conferred together until the last moment, when it was necessary for the French gentlemen to be landed in their boat.” “They spoke together until the very last moment, when the two French gentlemen took their boat back to shore.”
“Had any papers been handed about among them, similar to these lists?” “Did they pass any papers between them? Papers similar to these lists?”
“Some papers had been handed about among them, but I don’t know what papers.” “They passed some papers between them, but I don’t know what they were.”
“Like these in shape and size?” “Were they the same shape and size as these papers?”
“Possibly, but indeed I don’t know, although they stood whispering very near to me: because they stood at the top of the cabin steps to have the light of the lamp that was hanging there; it was a dull lamp, and they spoke very low, and I did not hear what they said, and saw only that they looked at papers.” “They might have been, but I’m not sure. They stood close to me, whispering to each other. They were at the top of the cabin steps, near the light of the lamp. The lamp was dim, and they spoke very quietly. I did not hear what they said. I could only see that they were looking at some papers.”
“Now, to the prisoner’s conversation, Miss Manette.” “Tell us about your conversation with the prisoner, Miss Manette.”
“The prisoner was as open in his confidence with me—which arose out of my helpless situation—as he was kind, and good, and useful to my father. I hope,” bursting into tears, “I may not repay him by doing him harm to-day.” “Because I was helpless, the prisoner was as open and honest with me as he was kind and helpful to my father.” She burst into tears. “I hope that I will not repay him today by doing him harm.”
Buzzing from the blue-flies. The courtroom buzzed with excitement.
“Miss Manette, if the prisoner does not perfectly understand that you give the evidence which it is your duty to give—which you must give—and which you cannot escape from giving—with great unwillingness, he is the only person present in that condition. Please to go on.” “Miss Manette, everyone here, except maybe the prisoner, understands that you do not want to give this evidence today. You know, though, that it is your duty to do so. Please continue.”

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