- Whenever I start "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." in my head, it ends, "that is the question". Which, of course, makes no sense. But that's always what happens. LIT MASHUP! YEAH!!
- I actually liked the second, less famous paragraph more:
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 forever.
- "Supernaturally deficient in originality..." Ha! I had to look up the Cock-lane Ghost. As I went through an excessively long ghost phase in elementary school, I'm surprised I hadn't ever run across that one.
- I liked this: "France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it." The next sentence, about the "humane achievements", was wonderful. It made me laugh (from shock more than anything, and because it just kept GOING and GOING) and turned my stomach at the same time.
- The plethora of brief examples of highwaymen and thieves in England was, of course, greatly appreciated.
Book the First, Chapter Two: The Mail
In which the action begins with a messenger almost getting himself shot.
- Trudging along next to the coach as the horses barely make it through the mud and up the hill is NOT AT ALL how I usually picture travel by coach -- though I guess it's probably much more realistic. Sad.
- Did Dickens write any Gothics? Because I'd read 'em:
There was a steaming mist in all the hollows, and it had roamed in its forlornness up the hill, like an evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none. A clammy and intensely cold mist, it made its slow way through the air in ripples that visibly followed and overspread one another, as the waves of an unwholesome sea might do.
- I'm finding that I'm enjoying Dickens' rhythm and pacing and description. When we were force-fed Oliver Twist (which is the only Dickens I've read other than A Christmas Carol) in ninth grade, I remembered liking it despite all of that (and especially what I thought of as his long-winded-ness), because I got hooked on the story and the characters -- but this time through, almost every sentence is giving me a clear, sparkly-bright image in my head. (Even when it's of a dark and muddy night. You know what I mean.)
- Hee hee hee:
"I know this messenger, guard," said Mr. Lorry, getting down into the road--assisted from behind more swiftly than politely by the other two passengers, who immediately scrambled into the coach, shut the door, and pulled up the window.
- The mail coach guard is very blustery, isn't he? (Can't blame him, of course.) I love that he capitalized the word 'Lead'.
- Jarvis Lorry's fellow passengers continue to be hilarious:
With those words the passenger opened the coach-door and got in; not at all assisted by his fellow-passengers, who had expeditiously secreted their watches and purses in their boots, and were now making a general pretence of being asleep. With no more definite purpose than to escape the hazard of originating any other kind of action.
I suppose I should be concentrating more on the Mysterious Message (Wait at Dover for Mam'selle) and Just As Mysterious Response (RECALLED TO LIFE), but... that'll all become clear soon enough. Hopefully.
- The guard and the coachman:
"Did you hear the message?"
"I did, Joe."
"What did you make of it, Tom?"
"Nothing at all, Joe."
"That's a coincidence, too," the guard mused, "for I made the same of it myself."
Book the First, Chapter Three: The Night Shadows
In which the coach passenger sleeps lightly and has creepy dreams that I don't understand.
- Dickens seems to have a high opinion of horses. There's a bit about the mare's "private topics of uneasiness" here, and there was also a bit about Reason at the beginning of Chapter Two.
He was on his way to dig some one out of a grave.
I assume this is metaphorical, as the guy is supposed to have been buried alive for eighteen years. I also assume that everything in this chapter will be explained, and soon. I'm not just being dense, right? Right?