“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...” With these famous words, Charles Dickens plunges the reader into one of history’s most explosive eras — the French Revolution. From the storming of the Bastille to the relentless drop of the guillotine, Dickens vividly captures the... read more
The story begins with the rescue of Dr. Alexandre Manette by his young daughter Lucie and his old friend Jarvis Lorry with the help of a french winemaker Defarge, after eighteen years in a French prison. They start a new life in London, where Lucie meets Charles Darnay. Darnay is tried for... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The story begins with the rescue of Dr. Alexandre Manette by his young daughter Lucie and his old friend Jarvis Lorry with the help of a french winemaker Defarge, after eighteen years in a French prison. They start a new life in London, where Lucie meets Charles Darnay. Darnay is tried for treason in London based on the testimony of two men - John Barsad and Roger Cly - but was proven innocent by Sydney Carton. The two bore a striking resemblance to each other, but couldn't be further apart. Carton had all but thrown away his life in alcohol and despair, while Darnay prospered as a French teacher. Unknown to anybody, Darnay is the nephew of the cruel Marquis St Evremonde of France, but he gave up all claims to title and family. Both men asked Lucie for her hand in marriage. Even though she chose Darnay, Carton promised her that should the day ever come when she or someone she loved need him, he would gladly give up his life for her. Lucie and Darnay had a happy life till one day Darnay has to go back to France, after the French Revolution, and was imprisoned for his family's crimes. The rest of them went to France to free him, when the winemaker Defarge, now a powerful man in France, shows a letter written by Dr. Manette when he was imprisoned, describing the brutalities of the Evremonde family. Darnay is sentenced to death while Defarge's wife, a former victim, plots to kill Lucie and her child. Lucie's guardian Ms. Pross foils the attack and kills Madame Defarge. Sydney remembers his promise to Lucie, and helps Mr. Lorry smuggle out Darnay, while he takes his place and dies on the gallows.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done: it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”Sydney Carton at the guillotine. Last line of the book.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”Narrator at beginning of novel describing England and France in the year 1775
“All the people within reach had suspended their business, or their idleness, to run to the spot and drink the wine. The rough, irregular stones of the street, pointing very way, and designed, one might have thought, expressly to lame all living creatures that approached them, had dammed it into little pools; these were surrounded, each by its own jostling group or crowd, according to its size. Some men kneeled down, make scoops of their two hands joined, and sipped, or tried to help women, who bent over their shoulders, to sip, before the wine had all run out between their fingers. Others, men and women, dipped in the puddles with little mugs of mutilated earthenware, or even with handkerchiefs from a women's heads, which were squeezed dry into infants' mouths; others made small mud embankments, to stem the wine as it ran; others, directed by lookers-on up at high windows, darted here and there, to cut off little streams of wine that started away in new directions; . . .”Narrator (Dickens) describing how the hungry and thirsty inhabitants of the St Antoine quarter drink the wine from the garbage and sewage laden streets. Book II, Chapter 5 (The Wine-shop)
“...Nor should I have been able to raise my thoughts to Him who was put to death, that we might have hope and comfort here to-day. I think you were sent to me by Heaven.”The Seamstress addressing Sydney Carton before she is beheaded.
“They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic.”Narrator describing Sydney Carton as he is driven to the guillotine.
“If my career were of that better kind that there was any opportunity or capacity of sacrifice in it, I would embrace any sacrifice for you and for those dear to you.”Sydney Carton to Lucie
“The preceding relative positions of himself and Lucie were reversed, yet only as the liveliest gratitude and affection could reverse them, for he could have had no pride but in rendering some service to her who had rendered so much to him.”Narrator describing Dr Manette's feelings when he is able to free Darnay temporarily in Paris.
“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!”
“Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from Jacques."”Jacques (note driven into the Marquis heart when he stabs the Marquis in his bed).
Book the first - Recalled to Life (1775)
1. The period
2. The mail
3. The night shadows
4. The preparation
5. The wine-shop
6. The shoemaker
Book the second - The Golden Thread (1780-1792)
1. Five years later
2. A sight
3. A disappointment
5. The jackal
6. Hundreds of people
7. Monseigneur in town
8. Monseigneur in the country
9. The Gorgon's head
10. Two promises
11. A companion picture
12. The fellow of delicacy
13. The fellow of no delicacy
14. The honest tradesman
16. Still knitting
17. One night
18. Nine days
19. An opinion
20. A plea
21. Echoing footsteps
22. The sea still rises
23. Fire rises
24. Drawn to the loadstone rock
Book the third - The Track of a Storm (1792-1793)
1. In secret
2. The grindstone
3. The shadow
4. Calm in storm
5. The wood-sawyer
7. A knock at the door
8. A hand at cards
9. The game made
10. The substance of the shadow
13. Fifty two
14. The knitting done
15. The foot steps die out forever
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