Monday, November 15, 2010

Fine wine by the Carton

The last installment of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities was published on this day in 1859. The last words of the ne'er-do-well turned hero, Sidney Carton, are some of the most famous in literature:

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done: it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."

Carton undoubtedly had time to think of these while awaiting execution in prison. As another writer, Samuel Johnson, said: "When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." Carton was to be guillotined, but no matter.

Start working on those last words now!

Today's Perverse Verse (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling):

If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs,
You must be a friend of Robespierre's.