A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. It is among the most famous works of fiction.

Summer, 1789

Paris has been doing some soul searching.  After centuries of oppression, her commoner’s party has created the National Assembly, forcing the other two classes to join them or be shunted from their new goal: to give France a constitution.  They stormed her major prisons, which concerns her, but they also abolished feudalism, which makes her a trendy new city.  Now as long as she can stay there, and flawlessly accept all the new changes.

London is flabbergasted.  Not about Paris, no this is much more important.  A small ship being used to carry plants to the West Indies had mutinied against their captain.  Fortunately, after weeks at sea the rowboat containing the captain and his local crewmates arrived at a small island in the Indies, and the seamen were returned homeward.  A silver lining to the dreaful news is that she has just completed the Thames and Severn Canal’s Sapperton Tunnel, which is officially now the longest tunnel in England.

Spring 1792

Paris is beginning to doubt that things will settle down.  She just declared war on Austria, and is having a hard time financing the spread of revolution, and as taxes skyrocket more unrest builds.

London is feeling altruistic and smug.  She has just opened a settlement for freed slaves in East Africa, where the dear souls will be able to reclaim their former ways of life.

Winter 1792

Paris has just killed her King, and because his death did little to fill the National Assembly’s anger, 1200 other people are guillotined for carrying out “Counter-Revolutionary Activities”

London has finally done something about that pesky Thomas Paine.  She had been lenient when he wrote all of that rubbish to fuel the American colonies’ revolution, but now that he was in France attacking one of their prominent writers, enough was enough.  Even though he was in another country, London still put in on trial and convicted him for seditious libel.  Serves him right too.

Spring 1793

France declares war on Britain.  France girds herself for more tight budgeting, and London, a bit perplexed, readies her navy.  Paris isn’t serious, is she?  I mean, she’s just undergone massive changes and is now challenging one of the greatest powers in the world.  Either way, London is ready for some thrashing after the disappointment of her american colonies.

Summer 1793

Paris has found a lover to save her from herself: Napoleon Bonaparte.  He is quickly gaining control of the military, and suppressing many of the riots.  A constitution has finally been written, and maybe she does still have a chance for redemption.

Meanwhile London sends some ships to stop a convoy of American ships conveying grain to Paris.  A small naval clash begins.  Paris claims that since the convoy did get to France, she won.  London points out that she demolished 1/4 of Paris’s ships with no losses to herself, therefore London was the victor.  No consensus is ever reached.

Summer 1794

Paris’ people have finally killed off the insane Robespierre, and her Reign of Terror has ended.  She embraces Napoleon wholeheartedly, excited for the end of violence.

London looks Napoleon up and down, and starts calling up all of her troops.  Things just got real.

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