A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES
Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping, and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city.
Some years ago, a temporary inability to sleep, caused me to walk about the streets all night, for a series of several nights. In the course of those nights, I finished my education in a fair amateur experience of houselessness. My principal object being to get through the night, the pursuit of it brought me into sympathetic relations with people who have no other object every night in the year...
1. Marley was dead, to begin with.
2. My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.
3. "NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts."
4. 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 believe, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the spring of despair.
5. In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in.
6. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
7. Night is generally my time for walking.
8. Thirty years ago, Marseilles lay burning in the sun, one day.
9. London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth. . .
10. Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse . . .