A Tale of Two Cities
By: Charles Dickens
(In the year 1775, King George III sat on the throne of England, preoccupied with his rebellious colonies in America. Across a narrow neck of water to the east, Louis XVI reigned in France, not very much bothered by anything except seeing to his own comforts.) On a cold and foggy night in late November, Mr. Jarvis Lorry was headed out of London bound for Paris, via Dover, on a matter of business. In the darkness of the coach, as he and the other passengers waked and drowsed by turns, Lorry was confronted by a gaunt and ghostly apparition, who engaged him in a silent and macabre conversation The figure haunting him through the night was Dr. Manette, a French physician and the father of Mr. Lorry's young ward. When the doctor had disappeared from his home eighteen years before, his young English wife had diligently and sorrowfully searched for him, until she died two years later, leaving her small daughter Lucie, who was placed in the care of Mr. Lorry. Lorry had brought the child to England, where she was turned over to Lorry's servant, Miss Press, a wild-looking, wonderful woman who adored her. At Dover, Lorry was joined by Lucie - now a young woman - and Miss Press. Lorry informed Lucie that her father had been found alive after years as a political prisoner, and that he, Mr. Lorry, was making this trip to Paris in order to identify him. Lucie, it was hoped, could then help "restore him to life." The sudden reality of finally meeting her father was so great that Lucie could only mutter in an awestricken, doubting voice, "I am going to see his Ghost! It will be his Ghost - not him!" In Paris, Mr. Lorry proceeded directly to the wine-shop of Monsieur Defarge, a former attendant to Dr. Manette, who was now looking after him. The company ascended to the attic. Lucie had been prophetic; indeed, Manette seemed but the ghost of a man, bending over his little shoemaker's bench, unaware of anything around him. Still,...
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