A Tale of Two Cities

by: Charles Dickens

  Book 3 Chapter 14

page Book 3 Chapter 14: The Knitting Done: Page 5

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“No, miss,” returned Jerry, “it shall not be named to you. Second: them poor things well out o’ this, and never no more will I interfere with Mrs. Cruncher’s flopping, never no more!” “No, miss,” answered Jerry. “I won’t tell you what it is. Second, if our poor friends get away, I won’t ever interfere with Mrs. Cruncher’s praying. Never again!”
“Whatever housekeeping arrangement that may be,” said Miss Pross, striving to dry her eyes and compose herself, “I have no doubt it is best that Mrs. Cruncher should have it entirely under her own superintendence. —O my poor darlings!” “Whatever situation you have at home,” said Miss Pross, trying to dry her eyes and compose herself, “I know it’s best that Mrs. Cruncher is able to do what she wants. Oh, my poor friends!”
“I go so far as to say, miss, moreover,” proceeded Mr. Cruncher, with a most alarming tendency to hold forth as from a pulpit—”and let my words be took down and took to Mrs. Cruncher through yourself—that wot my opinions respectin’ flopping has undergone a change, and that wot I only hope with all my heart as Mrs. Cruncher may be a flopping at the present time.” “Remember what I’m telling you and tell Mrs. Cruncher yourself,” continued Mr. Cruncher, speaking as though he were preaching at a church pulpit. “I’d go so far as to say that my opinions about praying have changed. I only hope with all my heart that Mrs. Cruncher is praying right now.”
“There, there, there! I hope she is, my dear man,” cried the distracted Miss Pross, “and I hope she finds it answering her expectations.” “There, there! I hope she is, my dear man,” cried Miss Pross. “And I hope that her prayers are answered.”
“Forbid it,” proceeded Mr. Cruncher, with additional solemnity, additional slowness, and additional tendency to hold forth and hold out, “as anything wot I have ever said or done should be wisited on my earnest wishes for them poor creeturs now! Forbid it as we shouldn’t all flop (if it was anyways conwenient) to get ‘em out o’ this here dismal risk! Forbid it, miss! Wot I say, for-BID it!” This was Mr. Cruncher’s conclusion after a protracted but vain endeavour to find a better one. “God forbid that anything I have ever said or done wrong would ever hurt our poor friends,” continued Mr. Cruncher, even more seriously and more slowly. “If it’s possible, we should both pray to get our friends out of this risky situation! God forbid, miss. That’s what I say. Forbid it!” Mr. Cruncher tried to find a good ending to his speech, but this was the best he could do.
And still Madame Defarge, pursuing her way along the streets, came nearer and nearer. Meanwhile, Madame Defarge was still making her way through the streets and getting closer and closer.
“If we ever get back to our native land,” said Miss Pross, “you may rely upon my telling Mrs. Cruncher as much as I may be able to remember and understand of what you have so impressively said; and at all events you may be sure that I shall bear witness to your being thoroughly in earnest at this dreadful time. Now, pray let us think! My esteemed Mr. Cruncher, let us think!” “If we ever get back to England,” said Miss Pross, “you can rely on my telling Mrs. Cruncher as much as I can remember and understand of what you have so impressively said. You can be sure that I will swear that you were completely serious about it at the time. Now, please, let’s think of a plan! My good Mr. Cruncher, let’s think!”
Still, Madame Defarge, pursuing her way along the streets, came nearer and nearer. Madame Defarge was still making her way through the streets and getting closer and closer.
“If you were to go before,” said Miss Pross, “and stop the vehicle and horses from coming here, and were to wait somewhere for me; wouldn’t that be best?” “Wouldn’t it be best if you went on ahead, stopped the horses and carriage from coming here, and then waited for me somewhere else?” asked Miss Pross.
Mr. Cruncher thought it might be best. Mr. Cruncher thought that was best.
“Where could you wait for me?” asked Miss Pross. “Where could you wait for me?” asked Miss Pross.
Mr. Cruncher was so bewildered that he could think of no locality but Temple Bar. Alas! Temple Bar was hundreds of miles away, and Madame Defarge was drawing very near indeed. Mr. Cruncher was so confused that the only place he could think of was Temple Bar. Unfortunately Temple Bar was hundreds of miles away, and Madame Defarge was getting very close.
“By the cathedral door,” said Miss Pross. “Would it be much out of the way, to take me in, near the great cathedral door between the two towers?” “The door of Notre Dame cathedral,” said Miss Pross. “Would it be too much out of your way to meet me near the big cathedral door between the two towers?”
“No, miss,” answered Mr. Cruncher. “No, miss,” answered Mr. Cruncher.
“Then, like the best of men,” said Miss Pross, “go to the posting-house straight, and make that change.” “Then go to the posting house right away, like a good man, and change our arrangements,” said Miss Pross.
“I am doubtful,” said Mr. Cruncher, hesitating and shaking his head, “about leaving of you, you see. We don’t know what may happen.” “I am worried about leaving you. We don’t know what could happen,” said Mr. Cruncher, hesitating and shaking his head.