A Tale of Two Cities

by: Charles Dickens

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“Hurry, hurry!” “Hurry, hurry!”
The prisoner bent over the paper, once more. Darnay bent over the paper again.
“‘If it had been otherwise;’“ Carton’s hand was again watchfully and softly stealing down; “‘I never should have used the longer opportunity. If it had been otherwise;’“ the hand was at the prisoner’s face; “‘I should but have had so much the more to answer for. If it had been otherwise—’“ Carton looked at the pen and saw it was trailing off into unintelligible signs. “‘If it had been otherwise—’” Carton’s hand was carefully moving toward Darnay’s face again “‘—I never would have used the great opportunity.’” Carton’s hand was at Darnay’s face again. “‘If it had been otherwise, I would have had much more to lose. If it had been otherwise—’” Carton looked at the pen and saw that his writing was trailing off into meaningless scribble.
Carton’s hand moved back to his breast no more. The prisoner sprang up with a reproachful look, but Carton’s hand was close and firm at his nostrils, and Carton’s left arm caught him round the waist. For a few seconds he faintly struggled with the man who had come to lay down his life for him; but, within a minute or so, he was stretched insensible on the ground. Carton didn’t move his hand back to his breast pocket anymore. Darnay jumped up with an accusing look, but Carton was holding his hand firmly up to his nostrils. Carton’s left arm caught him around the waist, and for a few seconds Darnay tried to fight with Carton, who had come to lay down his life for him. But within a minute or so, Darnay was stretched out on the ground, unconscious.
Quickly, but with hands as true to the purpose as his heart was, Carton dressed himself in the clothes the prisoner had laid aside, combed back his hair, and tied it with the ribbon the prisoner had worn. Then, he softly called, “Enter there! Come in!” and the Spy presented himself. Quickly, but with sure hands and a sure heart, Carton dressed himself in the clothes Darnay had laid aside. He combed back his hair and tied it with the ribbon Darnay had been wearing. Then he called quietly, “Enter there! Come in!” Barsad came in.
“You see?” said Carton, looking up, as he kneeled on one knee beside the insensible figure, putting the paper in the breast: “is your hazard very great?” “You see?” said Carton, looking up. He kneeled on one knee beside the unconscious Darnay. He put the paper into his breast pocket. “Are you in great danger of getting in trouble?”
“Mr. Carton,” the Spy answered, with a timid snap of his fingers, “my hazard is not THAT, in the thick of business here, if you are true to the whole of your bargain.” “Mr. Carton,” answered Barsad, snapping his fingers timidly, “this business doesn’t put me in danger if you stay true to your side of the deal.”
“Don’t fear me. I will be true to the death.” “Don’t be afraid of me. I will be true until my death.”
“You must be, Mr. Carton, if the tale of fifty-two is to be right. Being made right by you in that dress, I shall have no fear.” “You have to be, Mr. Carton, if fifty-two people are to die. If you go through with it dressed like that, I shall have nothing to fear.”
“Have no fear! I shall soon be out of the way of harming you, and the rest will soon be far from here, please God! Now, get assistance and take me to the coach.” “Have no fear! I will soon be dead and won’t be able to hurt you. Everyone else, God willing, will soon be far away. Now, get help and take me to the coach.”
“You?” said the Spy nervously. “You?” asked Barsad, nervously.
“Him, man, with whom I have exchanged. You go out at the gate by which you brought me in?” “Him, man, whom I have changed places with. Do you go out at the same gate you brought me in through?”
“Of course.” “Of course.”
“I was weak and faint when you brought me in, and I am fainter now you take me out. The parting interview has overpowered me. Such a thing has happened here, often, and too often. Your life is in your own hands. Quick! Call assistance!” “Tell them I was weak and faint when you brought me in and I am fainter now that you are taking me out. Tell them my final conversation with Darnay was too much for me. Such a thing has happened here often—too often. Your life is in your own hands. Quick! Call for help!”
“You swear not to betray me?” said the trembling Spy, as he paused for a last moment. “You swear not to betray me?” said Barsad, trembling as he paused for a moment.
“Man, man!” returned Carton, stamping his foot; “have I sworn by no solemn vow already, to go through with this, that you waste the precious moments now? Take him yourself to the courtyard you know of, place him yourself in the carriage, show him yourself to Mr. Lorry, tell him yourself to give him no restorative but air, and to remember my words of last night, and his promise of last night, and drive away!” “Man, man!” answered Carton, stamping his foot. “Haven’t I already sworn a solemn vow to go through with this? Why are you wasting precious time now? Take him to the courtyard you know of and put him in the carriage yourself. Show him to Mr. Lorry and tell Mr. Lorry he only needs some fresh air to revive him. Tell him to remember what I said and the promise he made last night. Then tell him to drive away!”
The Spy withdrew, and Carton seated himself at the table, resting his forehead on his hands. The Spy returned immediately, with two men. Barsad left and Carton sat down at the table. He rested his forehead on his hands. Barsad returned immediately with two men.