At the height (or depth) of the French Revolution, Sydney Carton has exchanged places and names with aristocrat Charles Darnay, winning just enough time for Darnay and his family to be smuggled to safety in England. As Carton is led to the guillotine, a seamstress condemned to the same fate shares a confidence with him.
“WILL you let me ask you one last question? I am very ignorant, and it troubles me — just a little.”
“Tell me what it is.”
“I have a cousin, an only relative and an orphan, like myself, whom I love very dearly. She is five years younger than I, and she lives in a farmer’s house in the south country. What I have been thinking as we came along is this: — If the Republic really does good to the poor, and they come to be less hungry, and in all ways to suffer less, she may live a long time: she may even live to be old.”
“What then, my gentle sister?”
“Do you think:” the uncomplaining eyes in which there is so much endurance, fill with tears, and the lips part a little more and tremble: “that it will seem long to me, while I wait for her in the better land where I trust both you and I will be mercifully sheltered?”