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A Tale of Two Cities

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“You scarcely seem to like your hand,” said Sydney, with the greatest composure. “Do you play?” “You don’t seem to like your cards,” said Sydney calmly. “Will you play your hand?”
“I think, sir,” said the spy, in the meanest manner, as he turned to Mr. Lorry, “I may appeal to a gentleman of your years and benevolence, to put it to this other gentleman, so much your junior, whether he can under any circumstances reconcile it to his station to play that Ace of which he has spoken. I admit that I am a spy, and that it is considered a discreditable station—though it must be filled by somebody; but this gentleman is no spy, and why should he so demean himself as to make himself one?” “Mr. Lorry,” said Barsad, angrily, turning to him. “You are a kind, old gentleman. Will you please ask Mr. Carton, who is so much younger than you, whether he can reconcile it to himself to do what he says he’ll do? I admit that I am a spy and that this is a shameful job, though somebody has to do it. But this gentleman isn’t a spy. Why should he demean himself by accusing me?”
“I play my Ace, Mr. Barsad,” said Carton, taking the answer on himself, and looking at his watch, “without any scruple, in a very few minutes.” “I will play my ace in a few minutes and accuse you, Mr. Barsad, without any doubts,” said Carton, answering himself and looking at his watch.
“I should have hoped, gentlemen both,” said the spy, always striving to hook Mr. Lorry into the discussion, “that your respect for my sister—” “I would have hoped that the respect you both have for my sister—” said Barsad, who kept trying to bring Mr. Lorry into the discussion.
“I could not better testify my respect for your sister than by finally relieving her of her brother,” said Sydney Carton. “There is no better way for me to prove that I respect your sister than to finally relieve her of her brother,” said Sydney Carton.
“You think not, sir?” “There isn’t, sir?” asked Barsad.
“I have thoroughly made up my mind about it.” “I have completely made my mind up about it,” answered Carton.
The smooth manner of the spy, curiously in dissonance with his ostentatiously rough dress, and probably with his usual demeanour, received such a check from the inscrutability of Carton, —who was a mystery to wiser and honester men than he, —that it faltered here and failed him. While he was at a loss, Carton said, resuming his former air of contemplating cards: Barsad’s smooth manner was strangely at odds with his showily ragged clothes and his usual behavior. But he was so thrown off by Carton, who was a mystery to smarter, more honest men than Barsad, that he didn’t know what to say. While he was trying to decide what to do next, Carton said, as if looking over his cards again:
“And indeed, now I think again, I have a strong impression that I have another good card here, not yet enumerated. That friend and fellow-Sheep, who spoke of himself as pasturing in the country prisons; who was he?” “Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I have another good card here that I haven’t mentioned yet. That friend and fellow spy who said he spends time in the prisons. Who was he?”
“French. You don’t know him,” said the spy, quickly. “He’s French. You don’t know him,” said Barsad, quickly.
“French, eh?” repeated Carton, musing, and not appearing to notice him at all, though he echoed his word. “Well; he may be.” “French, huh?” repeated Carton, thinking it over. He didn’t seem to notice Barsad at all, although he repeated the word after him. “Well, he might be.”
“Is, I assure you,” said the spy; “though it’s not important.” “He is, I assure you,” said Barsad. “Though it’s not important.”
“Though it’s not important,” repeated Carton, in the same mechanical way—“though it’s not important—No, it’s not important. No. Yet I know the face.” “Though it’s not important,” repeated Carton automatically as before. “Though it’s not important. No. It’s not important. No. Yet I know his face.”
“I think not. I am sure not. It can’t be,” said the spy. “I don’t think so. I’m sure you don’t. You can’t,” said Barsad.
“It-can’t-be,” muttered Sydney Carton, retrospectively, and idling his glass (which fortunately was a small one) again. “Can’t-be. Spoke good French. Yet like a foreigner, I thought?” “I can’t,” muttered Sydney Carton, thinking and twirling his glass again. Fortunately, it was a small glass. “I can’t. He spoke good French. But he spoke it like a foreigner, didn’t he?”
“Provincial,” said the spy. “He’s from the countryside,” said Barsad.
“No. Foreign!” cried Carton, striking his open hand on the table, as a light broke clearly on his mind. “Cly! Disguised, but the same man. We had that man before us at the Old Bailey.” “No. He’s foreign!” cried Carton, hitting the table with his open hand as it became clear to him. “Cly! He was disguised, but that was Cly. That man was at the trial at the Old Bailey.”
“Now, there you are hasty, sir,” said Barsad, with a smile that gave his aquiline nose an extra inclination to one side; “there you really give me an advantage over you. Cly (who I will unreservedly admit, at this distance of time, was a partner of mine) has been dead several years. I attended him in his last illness. He was buried in London, at the church of Saint Pancras-in-the-Fields. His unpopularity with the blackguard multitude at the moment prevented my following his remains, but I helped to lay him in his coffin.” “Now, you are rushing to a conclusion,” said Barsad with a smile that made his beaklike nose curve to one side. “There you really give me an advantage. I will fully admit that Cly was my partner a long time ago. But Cly has been dead for several years. I saw him on his deathbed. He was buried in London at the church of Saint Pancras-in-the-Fields. He was so unpopular with the people that I couldn’t follow his funeral to the graveyard because of the mob, but I helped lay him in his coffin.”

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