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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


175

CHAPTER XX
A PLEA


WHEN the newly-married pair came home, the first person who
appeared, to offer his congratulations, was Sydney Carton. They
had not been at home many hours, when he presented himself. He
was not improved in habits, or in looks, or in manner; but there
was a certain rugged air of fidelity about him, which was new to
the observation of Charles Darnay.

He watched his opportunity of taking Darnay aside into a window,
and of speaking to him when no one overheard.

Mr. Darnay, said Carton, I wish we might be friends. We are
already friends, I hope. You are good enough to say so, as a
fashion of speech; but, I dont mean any fashion of speech. Indeed,
when I say I wish we might be friends, I scarcely mean quite that,
either. Charles Darnay-as was natural-asked him, in all good-
humour and good-fellowship, what he did mean? Upon my life,
said Carton, smiling, I find that easier to comprehend in my own
mind, than to convey to yours. However, let me try. You remember
a certain famous occasion when I was more drunk than-than
usual?

I remember a certain famous occasion when you forced me to
confess that you had been drinking. I remember it too. The curse
of those occasions is heavy upon me, for I always remember them.
I hope it may be taken into account one day, when all days are at
an end for me! Dont be alarmed; I am not going to preach. I am
not at all alarmed. Earnestness in you, is anything but alarming to
me. Ah! said Carton, with a careless wave of his hand, as if he
waved that away. On the drunken occasion in question (one of a
large number, as you know), I was insufferable about liking you,
and not liking you. I wish you would forget it. I forgot it long
ago. Fashion of speech again! But, Mr. Darnay, oblivion is not so
easy to me, as you represent it to be to you. I have by no means
forgotten it, and a light answer does not help me to forget it. If it
was a light answer, returned Darnay, I beg your forgiveness for
it. I had no other object than to turn a slight thing, which, to my
surprise, seems to trouble you too much, aside. I declare to you, on
the faith of a gentleman, that I have long dismissed it from my
mind. Good Heaven, what was there to dismiss! Have I had
nothing more important to remember, in the great service you
rendered me that day? As to the great service, said Carton, I
am bound to avow to you, when you speak of it in that way, that it
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