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A Tale of Two Cities

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The traveller fared slowly on his way, who fared towards Paris from England in the autumn of the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two. More than enough of bad roads, bad equipages, and bad horses, he would have encountered to delay him, though the fallen and unfortunate King of France had been upon his throne in all his glory; but, the changed times were fraught with other obstacles than these. Every town-gate and village taxing-house had its band of citizen-patriots, with their national muskets in a most explosive state of readiness, who stopped all comers and goers, cross-questioned them, inspected their papers, looked for their names in lists of their own, turned them back, or sent them on, or stopped them and laid them in hold, as their capricious judgment or fancy deemed best for the dawning Republic One and Indivisible, of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death. It took a traveler a long time to go from England to Paris in the fall of 1792. There were many bad roads, bad carriages, and bad horses that would have delayed him, even though the king of France was still ruling on the throne in all of his glory. Now that the times had changed, there were even more obstacles. Citizen-patriots with their muskets ready to fire had taken over every town gate and village taxing-house. They would stop everyone as they came and went, question them, examine their papers, and look for their names on their lists. They would make them turn back or send them on their way, and sometimes they would stop them and seize them. It all depended on what their impulsive judgment led them to believe was best for the new Republic, which had the slogan, “One and Indivisible, with Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.”
A very few French leagues of his journey were accomplished, when Charles Darnay began to perceive that for him along these country roads there was no hope of return until he should have been declared a good citizen at Paris. Whatever might befall now, he must on to his journey’s end. Not a mean village closed upon him, not a common barrier dropped across the road behind him, but he knew it to be another iron door in the series that was barred between him and England. The universal watchfulness so encompassed him, that if he had been taken in a net, or were being forwarded to his destination in a cage, he could not have felt his freedom more completely gone. Charles Darnay had only traveled a few leagues into France when he began to notice that there was no hope of his going back until he had been declared a good citizen in Paris. Whatever might happen to him now, he had to continue on to his destination. He knew that every village and barrier he passed through was another obstacle between him and England. He was watched so carefully that he wouldn’t have felt more like a prisoner even if he had been caught in a net, or were being sent to his destination in a cage.
This universal watchfulness not only stopped him on the highway twenty times in a stage, but retarded his progress twenty times in a day, by riding after him and taking him back, riding before him and stopping him by anticipation, riding with him and keeping him in charge. He had been days upon his journey in France alone, when he went to bed tired out, in a little town on the high road, still a long way from Paris. Being watched so carefully not only meant that he was stopped on the highway twenty times during each leg of his journey, but he was also slowed down twenty times a day. People would follow him and then make him go back, or they would ride ahead of him and stop him, or ride with him and keep watch over him. He had been traveling in France for several days when he went to bed exhausted in a little town on a road still far away from Paris.
Nothing but the production of the afflicted Gabelle’s letter from his prison of the Abbaye would have got him on so far. His difficulty at the guard-house in this small place had been such, that he felt his journey to have come to a crisis. And he was, therefore, as little surprised as a man could be, to find himself awakened at the small inn to which he had been remitted until morning, in the middle of the night. If he hadn’t shown them poor Gabelle’s letter from Abbaye Prison, he would not have gotten that far. He had so much trouble at the guardhouse in this small town that he thought he was in danger. Because of this he was especially surprised when he was woken up in the small inn where he was staying in the middle of the night.
Awakened by a timid local functionary and three armed patriots in rough red caps and with pipes in their mouths, who sat down on the bed. A timid local official and three armed patriots with rough red caps and pipes in their mouths woke him. They sat down on the bed.
“Emigrant,” said the functionary, “I am going to send you on to Paris, under an escort.” “Emigrant,” said the official, “I am going to send you to Paris with an escort.”
“Citizen, I desire nothing more than to get to Paris, though I could dispense with the escort.” “Citizen, I want nothing more than to get to Paris, though I don’t need an escort.”
“Silence!” growled a red-cap, striking at the coverlet with the butt-end of his musket. “Peace, aristocrat!” “Quiet!” said one of the men in the red caps, hitting the bedcover with the handle of his musket. “Quiet, aristocrat!”

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