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late for that. I shall never be better than I am. I shall sink lower,
and be worse.”

He leaned an elbow on her table, and covered his eyes with his
hand. The table trembled in the silence that followed.

She had never seen him softened, and was much distressed. He
knew her to be so, without looking at her, and said: “Pray forgive
me, Miss Manette. I break down before the knowledge of what I
want to say to you. Will you hear me?” “If it will do you any good,
Mr. Carton, if it would make you happier, it would make me very
glad!” “God bless you for your sweet compassion!” He unshaded
his face after a little while, and spoke steadily.

“Don’t be afraid to hear me. Don’t shrink from anything I say. I am
like one who died young. All my life might have been.” “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.” “Say of you,
Miss Manette, and although I know better-although in the mystery
of my own wretched heart I know better-I shall never forget it!”
She was pale and trembling. He came to her relief with a fixed
despair of himself which made the interview unlike any other that
could have been holden.

“If it had been possible, Miss Manette, that you could have
returned the love of the man you see before you-self-flung away,
wasted, drunken, poor creature of misuse as you know him to be-
he would have been conscious this day and hour, in spite of his
happiness, that he would bring you to misery, bring you to sorrow
and repentance, blight you, disgrace you, pull you down with him.
I know very well that you can have no tenderness for me; I ask for
none; I am even thankful that it cannot be.” “Without it, can I not
save you, Mr. Carton? Can I not recall you-forgive me again!- to a
better course? Can I in no way repay your confidence? I know this
is a confidence,” she modestly said, after a little hesitation, and in
earnest tears, “I know you would say this to no one else. Can I turn
it to no good account for yourself, Mr. Carton?” He shook his head.
“To none. No, Miss Manette, to none. If you will hear me through a
very little more, all you can ever do for me is done. I wish you to
know that you have been the last dream of my soul. In my
degradation I have not been so degraded but that the sight of you
with your father, and of this home made such a home by you, has
stirred old shadows that I thought had died out of me. Since I
knew you, I have been troubled by a remorse that I thought would
never reproach me again, and have heard whispers from old voices
impelling me upward, that I thought were silent for ever. I have
had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off
sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned fight. A
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