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A Tale of Two Cities

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After a few dull efforts to get to sleep again, which the man dexterously combated by stirring the fire continuously for five minutes, he got up, tossed his hat on, and walked out. He turned into the Temple, and, having revived himself by twice pacing the pavements of King’s Bench-walk and Paper-buildings, turned into the Stryver chambers. After a few feeble attempts to go back to sleep, which the servant prevented by continuously stirring the fire for five minutes, Mr. Carton got up. He put his hat on and walked out. He turned into Temple Bar, and he tried to revive himself by walking back and forth along the street. Then he entered Stryver’s home.
The Stryver clerk, who never assisted at these conferences, had gone home, and the Stryver principal opened the door. He had his slippers on, and a loose bed-gown, and his throat was bare for his greater ease. He had that rather wild, strained, seared marking about the eyes, which may be observed in all free livers of his class, from the portrait of Jeffries downward, and which can be traced, under various disguises of Art, through the portraits of every Drinking Age. Stryver’s assistant, who never assisted him at these meetings, had gone home, and Stryver opened the door himself. He had slippers on and a loose bed gown. His collar was open to be more comfortable. He had that wild, strained look in his eyes that people of his class who drink too much have had for ages. You could see it in the portraits of

Jeffreys

George Jeffreys, a notorious Lord Chief Justice of England

Jeffreys
on down through every Drinking Age.
“You are a little late, Memory,” said Stryver. “You’re a little late, Memory,” said Stryver.
“About the usual time; it may be a quarter of an hour later.” “I’m here around the usual time. Maybe I’m fifteen minutes late.”
They went into a dingy room lined with books and littered with papers, where there was a blazing fire. A kettle steamed upon the hob, and in the midst of the wreck of papers a table shone, with plenty of wine upon it, and brandy, and rum, and sugar, and lemons. They went into a dirty little room, filled with books and papers, where there was a blazing fire. A kettle was steaming on the stove, an in the middle of the mess of papers, there was a table with wine, brandy, rum, sugar, and lemons.
“You have had your bottle, I perceive, Sydney.” “I see you’ve already had a bottle of wine, Sydney.”
“Two to-night, I think. I have been dining with the day’s client; or seeing him dine—it’s all one!” “Two tonight, I think. I’ve been eating with today’s client. Or watching him eat. It’s all the same.”
“That was a rare point, Sydney, that you brought to bear upon the identification. How did you come by it? When did it strike you?” “That was an important point that you brought up about identifying Mr. Darnay. How did you think of it?”
“I thought he was rather a handsome fellow, and I thought I should have been much the same sort of fellow, if I had had any luck.” “I thought that he was rather a good-looking man, and I thought I would have been the same kind of man, if I’d had any luck.”
Mr. Stryver laughed till he shook his precocious paunch. Mr. Stryver laughed until his belly shook.
“You and your luck, Sydney! Get to work, get to work.” “You and your luck, Sydney! Get to work, get to work.”
Sullenly enough, the jackal loosened his dress, went into an adjoining room, and came back with a large jug of cold water, a basin, and a towel or two. Steeping the towels in the water, and partially wringing them out, he folded them on his head in a manner hideous to behold, sat down at the table, and said, “Now I am ready!” Mr. Carton loosened his clothes gloomily and went into another room. He came back with a large jug of cold water, a basin, and one or two towels. Dipping the towels in the water and partially wringing them out, he placed them sloppily on his head and sat down at the table. “Now I am ready!” he said.
“Not much boiling down to be done to-night, Memory,” said Mr. Stryver, gaily, as he looked among his papers. “Not much work to be done tonight, Memory,” said Mr. Stryver happily as he looked at his papers.
“How much?” “How much?”
“Only two sets of them.” “Only two sets of them.”
“Give me the worst first.” “Give me the worst one first.”
“There they are, Sydney. Fire away!” “Here they are, Sydney. Fire away!”
The lion then composed himself on his back on a sofa on one side of the drinking-table, while the jackal sat at his own paper-bestrewn table proper, on the other side of it, with the bottles and glasses ready to his hand. Both resorted to the drinking-table without stint, but each in a different way; the lion for the most part reclining with his hands in his waistband, looking at the fire, or occasionally flirting with some lighter document; the jackal, with knitted brows and intent face, so deep in his task, that his eyes did not even follow the hand he stretched out for his glass—which often groped about, for a minute or more, before it found the glass for his lips. Two or three times, the matter in hand became so knotty, that the jackal found it imperative on him to get up, and steep his towels anew. From these pilgrimages to the jug and basin, he returned with such eccentricities of damp headgear as no words can describe; which were made the more ludicrous by his anxious gravity. Mr. Stryver lay down on his back on the sofa on one side of the drinking table. Mr. Carton sat at his own table, which was covered with papers, on the other side, with the bottles and glasses within reach. Both of them were using the drinking table but in different ways. Mr. Stryver was lying back with his hands in his waistband looking at the fire, occasionally looking over some simple document. Mr. Carton, frowning intently, worked so steadily that he didn’t even look up when he reached for his glass. He often groped around for it for a minute or two before finding it. Two or three times the business he was working on became so difficult that Mr. Carton had to get up and soak his towels again. He would return from the water basin wearing the strangest combinations of wet towels on his head. These looked especially ridiculous because he was so serious about his work.

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