was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoc of belief, it was the epoc of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of
darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had
nothing before us,we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the
period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received,
for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." bk1 ch1
(In England it was the dawn of the industrial revolution, and for the growing middle class it was the best of times.
For the poor, it was the worst of times because illiteracy and unemployment was high. In France, for the aristocrcracy
it seemed like the best of times - many lived in a world insulated from what was really going on with the poor - hunger,
povery, unemployment. Whether it was the best of times or the worst of times depended on one's point of view.)
wonderful fact to reflect upon,that every human creature is constituted
to be that profound secret and
mystery to every other. A solemn cosideration, when I enter a great city at 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! Something of the awfulness, even of death itself, is referable to this. No
more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can
I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had
glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with
a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be
locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing in its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore.
(This is a story of secrets, and how we can never understand the innermost thoughts and feelings of even those
closest to us. No one can really know how Dr. Manette felt during his 18 years in prison, or why he would relapse
during times if stress. When Darnay asks the Dr. for his daughter's hand, even the Dr. does not know her true feelings
on the matter. No one will ever know what caused Carton , brilliant and talented, to become so unmotivated and
alienated. Why does Miss Pross still have such loyalty for her brother, even though he treated her badly? Who can
really understand why Madame DeFarge has such hatred for the St.Evrémonde family? Some secrets are eventually
revealed, some remain a mystery.)
"Jerry,say that my answer is 'RECALLED TO LIFE' ."
(His cryptic answer in reply to the message Jerry delivered to him from Tellson's Bank) bk1 ch2
"Miss Manette,I am a man of business...don't heed me anymore than if I
was a speaking machine..."
(to Lucie Manette when they met at Dover while on their way to Paris to recover Lucie's father. All his life
Mr.Lorry has been a "company man" with no time for personal relationships.) bk1 ch4
"To think that there might have been a Mrs. Lorry, anytime these fifty
(to Miss Pross on Lucie's wedding day.) bk2 ch18
"...and so it was for this, my sweet Lucie,that I brought you across the
Channel,such a baby! Lord bless
me! How little I thought what I was doing! How lightly I valued the obligation I was conferring on my
friend Mr. Charles!"
(to Lucie on her wedding day. This man of business has a heart after all.) bk2 ch9
"I am going to see his Ghost! It will be his Ghost - not him!"
(to Mr.Lorry when he revealed that her father was still alive.) bk1 ch4
"No,Mr.Carton.I am sure that the best part of it might still be;I am sure
that you might be much,
much worthier of yourself."
(She always sees the best in others and believes he has a better side,even if he doesn't show it or even
believe it himself) bk2 ch13
"It is extraordinary to me that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the
other of you is for ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done to my horses?"
(The Marquis shows his callous attitude in his remarks to the crowd after he had just run over and killed a young child)
"This property and France are lost to me. I renounce them."
(to his uncle the Marquis.Charles is disgusted with the way his family has carried on and refuses to continue
in the same course.) bk2 ch9
"I have a charmed life in this city. I have been a Bastille prisoner." bk3 ch2
(to Mr.Lorry on the day of the prison massacres, to reassure him that it is safe for him to deal with the mob.)
"The old Sydney Carton of the old Shrewsbury School,the old see-saw Sydney. Up one minute and
down the next. Now in spirits,and now in despondency."
(a little insight into Carton's personality.It almost appears as if he is manic-depressive.) bk2 ch5
"I don't care about fortune; she is a charming creature and I have made
up my mind to please myself."
(to Carton, about his plan to marry Lucie. He doesn't consider Lucie's feelings at all and really shows his
selfish, self-centered attitude.) bk2 ch11
"Halloa! Here are three lumps of bread-and-cheese towards your matrimonial
(Stryver later marries a rich widow with three sons. These three "lumps" he brings to Darnay to be tutored in
French. Darnay declines,and Stryver is so angry he later tells his friends lies about Lucie.) bk2 ch21
"...after abandoning his worldly goods and position to this butcherly mob,
I wonder he is not at the
head of them."
(Shooting off his mouth about the present Marquis in front of Darnay, not knowing that Darnay is the real
Marquis St.Evrémonde.) bk2 ch24
"To me, women! What! We can kill as well as the men when the place is taken!"
(She leads the women during the taking of the Bastille.) bk2 ch21
"Tell wind and fire where to stop, but don't tell me!"
(She will stop at nothing in carrying out her vengeful plan.) bk3 ch12
"Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from Jacques."
(This is the message Gaspard left attached to the knife he used to kill the Marquis who had killed his child.)bk2 ch9
"...you will not get the better of me! I am an Englishwoman!"
(She will stop at nothing to protect Lucie and her family.) bk3 ch14
"I care for no man on earth, and no man cares for me."
( to Darnay after his treason trial. Carton avoids close personal relationships and puts Darnay off with his remarks.)
"As to me - will you never understand that I am incorrigible?"
( to Stryver, letting him know he will never change.) bk2 ch11
"I have no business to be, that I know of."
( He has so little self-esteem that he sees no reason why he should even exist.) bk2 ch11
I wish we might be friends."..."Indeed when I say I wish we might be friends,
mean quite that,either."...."that I might be regarded as as an useless and unornamental piece of
furniture, tolerated for its old service, and taken no notice of."
( Carton asks Darnay that they might be friends , but is reluctant to get too close.)bk2 ch20
"At any rate, you know me as a dissolute dog who has never done any good,
and never will."
( to Darnay ,saying in so many words that he (Carton), will never be any better.) bk2 ch20
"...think now and then that there is a man, who would give his life, to
keep a life you love beside you."
( His promise to Lucie. This is the first time he reveals his true feelings to anyone.) bk2 ch13
"If you could say, with truth, to your own solitary heart tonight, 'I have
secured to myself the love and
attachment,the gratitude or respect,of no human creature;I have won myself a tender place in
no regard;I have done nothing good or serviceable to be remembered by!'your seventy-eight years
would be seventy-eight heavy curses; would they not?"
(to Mr.Lorry.This is the only other time he reveals his innermost feelings to another, and it explains a great deal
about why he is the way he is.) bk3 ch9
"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."
(For the first time, Carton feels that he has done something worthwile, and feels he will gain with his death
that which he could not find in life.) bk3 ch15
"But for you, dear stranger, I should not be so composed,for I am naturally a poor little thing, faint of
heart... I think you were sent to me by heaven."
"Or you to me," says Sydney Carton.
(A conversation between the seamstress and Carton while waiting their turns at the guillotine.Carton had said to
Mr. Lorry that the years of a wasted life were so many curses, that he had done nothing good or serviceable,
that he had done nothing to earn anyone's gratitude, respect or love.But his courage and self-sacrificing spirit had
won the young girl's heart completely. In his last moments, he finally found the only thing he had ever wanted.)
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