Romance with the Dead


I often fall in love with men who are dead.

I know; it’s Valentine’s Day, and I ought to offer up something pink and sugary. Instead, I leave you with the phrases with which Dickens wooed me – posthumously. 🙂

I offer them up in the order in which they appear in A Tale of Two Cities, though I’ve only read half of the book.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was that age of foolishness, it was the epoch of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of the noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

*We do those words an injustice when we only recall the first twelve of them. They are all lovely.

“…every human creature is constituted to be that profound mystery and secret to every other… every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!”

“…perhaps second-hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily off and on.”

“…the triumphant perfection of inconvenience.”

*Sounds like the process of buying a house!

“…there is nothing in it [the world] better than the faithful service of the heart…”

“…the pain of being monotonously haunted by one sad idea…”

“If the Day of Judgment had only been ascertained to be a dress day, everybody there would have been eternally correct.”

“It was one of those dark nights that hold their breath by the hour together, and then heave a long, low sigh, and hold their breath again.”

“Detestation of the high is involuntary homage of the low.”
“…handsomely diabolic… he moved like a refined tiger… impenitently wicked…”
“…Crowded in a purposeless way, that was highly fraught with nothing.”
“I am like one who died young. All my life might have been.”

“If you will hear me through a very little more, all you can ever do for me is done. I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul.”

“…stirred old shadows that I thought had died out of me… I have been troubled by a remorse that I thought would never reproach me again, and have heard whispers from old voices, impelling me upward, that I thought were silent forever. I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned light…”

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