November 3, 2004
It was the best of times
Although I have read some of Charles Dickens other works; I had never read “A Tale of Two Cities.” My wife had bought the book some time ago and so it sat on our shelf waiting to be read. A classic sitting on my shelf that I had not read was too much of a farce for me to ignore. And so I began reading it in the mornings, on my way to work.
Maybe it was because I was so much younger when I read Dickens other work, but for some reason “Tale” touched me in a way that his other books did not. I do not believe that another author, since the time Shakespeare, has demonstrated such a mastery of the English language and a skill for story telling. “A Tale of Two Cities” read like bitter-sweat honey to my tongue. Sweat, because his words welled up emotions in me that I have not felt for a story in a very long time. Bitter, because my heart aches that I will never have the skill to write such words. How sad it is that very few books have the capacity to be like that. The following are some of my favorite quotes from the book.
The two stand in the fast-thinning throng of victims, but they speak as if they were alone. Eye to eye, voice to voice, hand to hand, heart to heart, these two children of the Universal Mother, else so wide apart and differing, have come together on the dark highway, to repair home together, and to rest in her bosom.
Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.
The great grindstone, Earth, had turned when Mr. Lorry looked out again, and the sum was red on the court-yard. But, the lesser grindstone stood alone there in the calm morning air, with a red upon it that the sun had never given, and would never take away.
A dram, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.
His surname was Cruncher, and on the youthful occasion of his renouncing by proxy the works of darkness, in the easterly parish church of Hounsditch, he had received the added appellation of Jerry.