A Tale of Two Cities

by: Charles Dickens

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“We have new laws, Evremonde, and new offences, since you were here.” He said it with a hard smile, and went on writing. “We have new laws, Evremonde, and new crimes, since you were last in France.” He smiled cruelly as he said it and continued writing.
“I entreat you to observe that I have come here voluntarily, in response to that written appeal of a fellow-countryman which lies before you. I demand no more than the opportunity to do so without delay. Is not that my right?” “Please know that I have come here by my own choice, in response to that letter you have in front of you. A fellow countryman begged me to return and help him. All I want is the chance to do so as soon as possible. Isn’t that my right?”
“Emigrants have no rights, Evremonde,” was the stolid reply. The officer wrote until he had finished, read over to himself what he had written, sanded it, and handed it to Defarge, with the words “In secret.” “Emigrants have no rights, Evremonde,” the man answered coldly. The officer finished writing. He read over to himself what he had written, sealed it, and handed it to Defarge, telling him, “In secret.”
Defarge motioned with the paper to the prisoner that he must accompany him. The prisoner obeyed, and a guard of two armed patriots attended them. Defarge gestured to Darnay with the paper that he had to follow him. Darnay obeyed, and two armed citizens went with them.
“Is it you,” said Defarge, in a low voice, as they went down the guardhouse steps and turned into Paris, “who married the daughter of Doctor Manette, once a prisoner in the Bastille that is no more?” “Are you the one who married the daughter of Dr. Manette, who was once a prisoner in the Bastille but was released?” asked Defarge quietly as they went down the guardhouse steps and walked out into the streets of Paris.
“Yes,” replied Darnay, looking at him with surprise. “Yes,” answered Darnay, with a surprised look.
“My name is Defarge, and I keep a wine-shop in the Quarter Saint Antoine. Possibly you have heard of me.” “My name is Defarge. I own a wine shop in the Saint Antoine Quarter. Maybe you have heard of me.”
“My wife came to your house to reclaim her father? Yes!” “My wife came to your house to take back her father? Yes!”
The word “wife” seemed to serve as a gloomy reminder to Defarge, to say with sudden impatience, “In the name of that sharp female newly-born, and called La Guillotine, why did you come to France?” The word wife caused Defarge to say suddenly, “In the name of that new invention called the guillotine, why did you come back to France?”
“You heard me say why, a minute ago. Do you not believe it is the truth?” “You heard me say it a minute ago. You don’t believe it’s the truth?”
“A bad truth for you,” said Defarge, speaking with knitted brows, and looking straight before him. “It’s a bad truth for you,” said Defarge, speaking with a frown and looking straight ahead.
“Indeed I am lost here. All here is so unprecedented, so changed, so sudden and unfair, that I am absolutely lost. Will you render me a little help?” “Truly I feel lost here. Everything is so new, so different, so sudden and unjust, that I feel lost. Can you help me?”
“None.” Defarge spoke, always looking straight before him. “No.” Defarge kept looking straight ahead as he spoke.
“Will you answer me a single question?” “Will you answer one question for me?”
“Perhaps. According to its nature. You can say what it is.” “Maybe. Depending on what it is. What is it?”
“In this prison that I am going to so unjustly, shall I have some free communication with the world outside?” “In this prison that I am going to so unjustly, will I have some way of communicating with the outside world?”
“You will see.” “You’ll see.”
“I am not to be buried there, prejudged, and without any means of presenting my case?” “Am I going to be shut up there without a trial or any chance to present my case?”
“You will see. But, what then? Other people have been similarly buried in worse prisons, before now.” “You’ll see. But, what then? Other people have been shut up in worse prisons before in the same way.”
“But never by me, Citizen Defarge.” “But not by me, Citizen Defarge.”
Defarge glanced darkly at him for answer, and walked on in a steady and set silence. The deeper he sank into this silence, the fainter hope there was—or so Darnay thought—of his softening in any slight degree. He, therefore, made haste to say: Defarge looked at him for an answer. He walked steadily on in silence, and the quieter he became, the less Darnay hoped that Defarge might soften. Therefore, he said quickly:
“It is of the utmost importance to me (you know, Citizen, even better than I, of how much importance), that I should be able to communicate to Mr. Lorry of Tellson’s Bank, an English gentleman who is now in Paris, the simple fact, without comment, that I have been thrown into the prison of La Force. Will you cause that to be done for me?” “It is very important to me—you know even better than I do how important it is—that I am able to tell Mr. Lorry of Tellson’s Bank that I have been thrown into La Force Prison. Mr. Lorry is an English gentleman who is in Paris right now. Will you be able to tell him for me?”
“I will do,” Defarge doggedly rejoined, “nothing for you. My duty is to my country and the People. I am the sworn servant of both, against you. I will do nothing for you.” “I will do nothing for you,” said Defarge, stubbornly. “My duty is to my country and its people. I have sworn to serve them against people like you. I will do nothing for you.”