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A Tale of Two Cities

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At length the jackal had got together a compact repast for the lion, and proceeded to offer it to him. The lion took it with care and caution, made his selections from it, and his remarks upon it, and the jackal assisted both. When the repast was fully discussed, the lion put his hands in his waistband again, and lay down to mediate. The jackal then invigorated himself with a bum for his throttle, and a fresh application to his head, and applied himself to the collection of a second meal; this was administered to the lion in the same manner, and was not disposed of until the clocks struck three in the morning. After a while Mr. Carton put together a small meal for the lion, Mr. Stryver, to eat. Mr. Stryver took it from him carefully. He picked out what he wanted and commented on it, and Mr. Carton responded. After they had discussed the meal, Mr. Stryver put his hands in his waistband again and lied down to think. Mr. Carton would then energize himself with a glass of punch and fresh towels, and put together a second meal. He served it to Mr. Stryver in the same manner, and he didn’t finish his work until three in the morning.
“And now we have done, Sydney, fill a bumper of punch,” said Mr. Stryver. “And now that we’re finished, Sydney, fill a glass of punch,” said Mr. Stryver.
The jackal removed the towels from his head, which had been steaming again, shook himself, yawned, shivered, and complied. Mr. Carton took the towels off of his head, which was steaming again. He shook himself, yawned, shivered, and did what Mr. Stryver said.
“You were very sound, Sydney, in the matter of those crown witnesses to-day. Every question told.” “You did well with those witnesses for the prosecution today, Sydney.”
“I always am sound; am I not?” “Don’t I always do well?”
“I don’t gainsay it. What has roughened your temper? Put some punch to it and smooth it again.” “I’m not questioning it. What has put you in such a bad mood? Have some punch. That will improve your mood.”
With a deprecatory grunt, the jackal again complied. With a disapproving grunt, Mr. Carton did what he was told.
“The old Sydney Carton of old Shrewsbury School,” said Stryver, nodding his head over him as he reviewed him in the present and the past, “the old seesaw Sydney. Up one minute and down the next; now in spirits and now in despondency!” “You’re acting just like you did back when we were at

Shrewsbury School

a famous school for boys

Shrewsbury School
,” said Stryver, nodding his head as he thought about Mr. Carton in the past and present. “Sydney the seesaw! Up one minute and down the next. In a good mood one minute, in a bad mood the next.”
“Ah!” returned the other, sighing: “yes! The same Sydney, with the same luck. Even then, I did exercises for other boys, and seldom did my own.” “Ah!” Mr. Carton sighed. “Yes! I’m the same Sydney, with the same bad luck. Even then, I did other boys’ homework and rarely did my own.”
“And why not?” “And why not?”
“God knows. It was my way, I suppose.” “God only knows. It was just the way I was, I guess.”
He sat, with his hands in his pockets and his legs stretched out before him, looking at the fire. He sat with his hands in his pockets and his legs stretched out in front of him, looking at the fire.
“Carton,” said his friend, squaring himself at him with a bullying air, as if the fire-grate had been the furnace in which sustained endeavour was forged, and the one delicate thing to be done for the old Sydney Carton of old Shrewsbury School was to shoulder him into it, “your way is, and always was, a lame way. You summon no energy and purpose. Look at me.” “Carton,” said Mr. Stryver, turning toward him forcefully as if he could bully him into becoming ambitious. “You’ve always been lazy. You have no energy or purpose. Look at me.”
“Oh, botheration!” returned Sydney, with a lighter and more good-humoured laugh, “don’t YOU be moral!” “Don’t bother me,” answered Sydney, with a somewhat cheerful laugh. “Don’t you moralize.”
“How have I done what I have done?” said Stryver; “how do I do what I do?” “How have I done all I have done? How do I do what I do?”
“Partly through paying me to help you, I suppose. But it’s not worth your while to apostrophise me, or the air, about it; what you want to do, you do. You were always in the front rank, and I was always behind.” “Partly by paying me to help you, I suppose. But don’t bother lecturing me about it. You do what you want to do. You were always on the front lines, and I was always in back.”
“I had to get into the front rank; I was not born there, was I?” “I had to push my way to the front lines. I wasn’t born there, was I?”
“I was not present at the ceremony; but my opinion is you were,” said Carton. At this, he laughed again, and they both laughed. “I wasn’t there at your birth, but I think that you were,” said Carton. He laughed again, and then they both laughed together.
“Before Shrewsbury, and at Shrewsbury, and ever since Shrewsbury,” pursued Carton, “you have fallen into your rank, and I have fallen into mine. Even when we were fellow-students in the Student-Quarter of Paris, picking up French, and French law, and other French crumbs that we didn’t get much good of, you were always somewhere, and I was always nowhere.” “Before Shrewsbury, and at Shrewsbury, and ever since Shrewsbury,” continued Carton, “you have always been ahead and I have always been behind. Even when we were in Paris studying French and French law, and trying to learn other French things that weren’t very good for us, you were always going somewhere and I was always going nowhere.”

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