This, the second of Dickens’s two historical novels, relates to the French Revolution, the two cities being London and Paris. French-born Charles Darnay, settled in London, returns to Paris to help save the life of his agent, but is eventually himself condemned to death. He is saved by the self-sacrifice of Sydney Carton, who takes his place, having previously led a debauched and wasteful life. Carton’s words at the very end of the novel are widely familiar: 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.
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