It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the season
of light, it was the season of darkness. It was the spring of hope, it
was the winter of sadness. It was the year one thousand seven hundred
In France there was a King and a Queen, and in England there was a King
and a Queen. They believed that nothing would ever change. But in France
things were bad, and getting worse. The people were poor, hungry and
The King made paper money and spent it, and the people had
nothing to eat. Behind closed doors in the homes of the people,
voices spoke in whispers against the King and his noblemen; they
were only whispers, but they were the angry whispers of
Late one November night, in that same year 1775, a coach going
from London to Dover stopped at the top of a long hill. The
horses were tired, but as they rested, the driver heard another
horse coming fast up the hill behind them. The rider stopped his
horse beside the coach and shouted:
'I want a passenger, Mr Jarvis Lorry, from
Tellson's Bank in London.'
'I am Mr Jarvis Lorry,' said one of the passengers, putting his
head out of the window. 'What do you want?'
'It's me! Jerry, Jerry Cruncher, from Tellson's Bank, sir,'
cried the man on the horse.
'What's the matter, Jerry?' called Mr Lorry.
'A message for you, Mr Lorry. You've got to wait at Dover for a
'Very well, Jerry,' said Mr Lorry. 'Tell them my answer is - CAME
BACK TO LIFE.'
It was a strange message, and a stranger answer. No one in the coach
understood what they meant.
The next day Mr Lorry was sitting in his hotel in Dover when a young
lady arrived. She was pretty, with golden hair and blue eyes, and Mr
Lorry remembered a small child, almost a baby. He had carried her in
his arms when he came from Calais to Dover, from France to England,
many years ago. Mr Lorry asked the young lady to sit down.
'Miss Manette,' he said. 'I have a strange story to tell you,
about one of the customers of Tellson's Bank. That's where I
'Yes, but I don't quite understand, Mr Lorn',' said the young
lady. 'I received a message from Tellson's Bank, asking me to
come here to meet you. I understood there was some news about my
poor father's money. He died so long ago -before I was born.
What is this story you want to tell me?'
'About twenty years ago, Miss Manette, a French doctor married an English lady.
They had a daughter, but just before she was born, her father disappeared.
Nobody knew what had happened to him. Not long afterwards his unhappy wife died,
and their daughter was brought back to England.'
'But this is like my father's story, Mr Lorry. And wasn't it you who brought me
back to England?'
'Yes, that's true, Miss Manette. Many years ago I brought you from France to
England, and Tellson's Bank has taken care of you since then. You were told that
your father had died. But think, Miss Manette. Perhaps your father wasn't dead.
Perhaps he was in prison. Not because he had done something wrong! But just
because he had a powerful enemy - an enemy with the power to send him to prison
and to keep him there, hidden and forgotten, for eighteen years!'
'Can it be true? Is it possible that my father is still alive?' Lucie Manette
stared at Mr Lorry. Her face was white and her hands trembled. 'It will be his
ghost - not him!'
'No, Miss Manette,' said Mr Lorry gently. 'He is alive, but he has changed very
much. Even his name had been forgotten! And we must ask no questions about the
past, no questions at all. It would be too dangerous. He has been taken to the
house of an old servant in Paris, and we are going there to bring him back to