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


30

chestnuts in the turned cylinder; Hunger was shred into atomies in
every farthing porringer of husky chips of potato, fried with some
reluctant drops of oil.

Its abiding place was in all things fitted to it. A narrow winding
street, full of offence and stench, with other narrow winding streets
diverging, all peopled by rags and nightcaps, and all smelling of
rags and nightcaps, and all visible things with a brooding look
upon them that looked ill. In the hunted air of the people there was
yet some wild-beast thought of the possibility of turning at bay.
Depressed and slinking though they were, eyes of fire were not
wanting among them; nor compressed lips, white with what they
suppressed; nor foreheads knitted into the likeness of the gallows-
rope they mused about enduring, or inflicting.

The trade sips (and they were almost as many as the shops) were,
all, grim illustrations of Want. The butcher and the porkman
painted up, only the leanest scrags of meat; the baker, the coarsest
of meagre loaves. The people rudely pictured as drinking in the
wine-shops, croaked over their scanty measures of thin wine and
beer, and were gloweringly confidential together. Nothing was
represented in a flourishing condition, save tools and weapons;
but, the cutlerís knives and axes were sharp and bright, the smithís
hammers were heavy, and the gunmakerís stock was murderous.
The crippling stones of the pavement, with their many little
reservoirs of mud and water, had no footways, but broke off
abruptly at the doors. The kennel, to make amends, ran down the
middle of the street-when it ran at all: which was only after heavy
rains, and then it ran, by many eccentric fits, into the houses.
Across the streets, at wide intervals, one clumsy lamp was slung by
a rope and pulley; at night, when the lamplighter had let these
down, and lighted, and hoisted them again, a feeble grove of dim
wicks swung in a sickly manner overhead, as if they were at sea.
Indeed they were at sea, and the ship and crew were in peril of
tempest.

For, the time was to come, when the gaunt scarecrows of that
region should have watched the lamplighter, in their idleness and
hunger, so long, as to conceive the idea of improving on his
method, and hauling up men by those ropes and pulleys, to flare
upon the darkness of their condition. But, the time was not come
yet; and every wind that blew over France shook the rags of the
scarecrows in vain, for the birds, fine of song and feather, took no
warning.

The wine-shop was a corner shop, better than most others in its
appearance and degree, and the master of the wine-shop had stood
outside it, in a yellow waistcoat and green breeches, looking on at
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