A Tale of Two Cities is the twelfth novel by Charles Dickens, originally published in weekly installments between April 1859 and November 1859. It is one of two historical novels by Dickens (the other being Barnaby Rudge). The plot centres on the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobean Reign of Terror.
This quotation is said by the character Sydney Carton, a barrister with a drink problem. Here, he is talking to Charles Darney in a tavern following a trial in which he helped Darney to be acquited of charges of being a French spy. Carton is letting the alcohol do the talking, wallowing in self-pity.
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