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A Tale of Two Cities

Chapter XV The Footsteps Die Out For Ever
Book the First--Recalled to Life
I
The Period
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct
the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present
period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its
being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree
of comparison only.
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.
It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and
seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at
that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently
attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a
prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime
appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the
swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane
ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping
out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past
(supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs.
Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to
the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects
in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important
to the human race than any communications yet received through
any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.
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