A Tale of Two Cities
How we cite our quotes:
There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever. (1.1.2)
The two countries don’t seem that different, do they? Both seem pretty stable and, well, calm. That’s the underlying tension in this novel: if the two countries aren’t that different, why couldn’t a revolution start in England?
Any one of these partners would have disinherited his son on the question of rebuilding Tellson's. In this respect the House was much on a par with the Country; which did very often disinherit its sons for suggesting improvements in laws and customs that had long been highly objectionable, but were only the more respectable. (2.1.2).
Tellson’s is the sort of quintessentially English bank which produces fine upstanding citizens like Mr. Lorry. If there’s any hope for England as a country, then, it’s probably got to do with the fact that Mr. Lorry isn’t always a complete businessman.
My dear friend, I have a charmed life in this city. I have been a Bastille prisoner. There is no patriot in Paris--in Paris? In France--who, knowing me to have been a prisoner in the Bastille, would touch me, except to overwhelm me with embraces, or carry me in triumph. (3.2.23)
Doctor Manette’s lack of agency changes overnight. He becomes a strange sort of celebrity in the first days of the Republic, when the prisoners of the old regime become the heroes of the new.