I finished Dickins' "Tale of Two Cities" right around Halloween last week. (By the way, thanks to Brook & Kim for letting us stay at your place! We got to see their new house in San Francisco and stayed two nights--Halloween being the second one. Ivy had a meeting to attend in San Jose and she took the train in.)
I was very moved by A Tale of Two Cities. It's set during the French Revolution and lots of suffering is detailed--both by the peasants who are beaten down by the rich people--and then by the rich people when the peasants turn on them and behead them. Despite my simplistic summary, it is a beautifully written book and I made a few notes of several favorite passages that I wanted to record:
- "Waste forces within him, and a desert all around, this man stood still on his way across a silent terrace, and saw for a moment, lying in the wilderness before him, a mirage of honourable ambition, self-denial, and perseverance... Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away."
- "...thousands of acres of land--a whole province of France--all France itself--lay under the night sky, concentrated into a faint hairbreadth line. So does a whole world, with all its greatnesses and littlenesses, lie in a twinkling star. And as mere human knowledge can split a ray of light and analyse the manner of its composition, so, sublimer intelligences may read in the feeble shining of this earth of ours, every thought and act, every vice and virtue, of every responsible creature on it."
- "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."