This Side of the Nether


I tend to either dream up story scenes or philosophize while walking home from work. My stories you can find elsewhere. Here you'll find the philosophizing.

A Tale of Two Characters

I think one of the reasons I fell in love with Doyle was because I read A Tale of Two Cities. Have you ever read A Tale of Two Cities? If so, you may see where I'm going with this. If not, don't let the label "classic" stop you. I have an aversion to reading anything with such a label, but I kept hearing how good this book was, so I finally took a chance. It's the most beautiful book I have ever read.

And now that I have read it, and now that I've seen Doyle, I realize that he and Sidney Carton are practically the same guy. Sidney was intelligent, a lawyer who worked other lawyers cases and didn't think he deserved to have the credit. So others saw in him what he presented for them: a drunkard and a slacker.

And he fell in love with a beautiful woman. But this woman wouldn't love a man like him and he knew it. In the end, he gave his life so that another--the woman's husband--would live, taking the other man's place at the guillotine.

Maybe some of the minute details are different, but that's still Doyle. Intelligent, he was a teacher at a young age. But at 21, he found out he was half-demon and decided he didn't deserve the good life he had. To all but a few, he was what he presented to the world: a drunkard and a slacker.

And he loved a beautiful woman. I don't know if he thought he deserved her or not, but he was sure giving it a try. And she was just starting to come around when fate got in the way. Doyle kissed her good-bye--something Sidney didn't get to do--and gave his life to save another, taking his place at the beacon.

Now, don't think I'm trying to take any numbers away from Doyle here. He saved Cordelia and the Listers, too. But Angel could have done that. For Sidney, there was no one else. So Doyle took Angel's place, just as Sidney took Charles Darnay's.

So why do I accept Sidney Carton's death where I have such a hard time with Doyle's? Not that I didn't cry for Sidney. I only have to read the last two pages of that book and I'll weep like a child.

But that's just it, I think. It's the last two pages. There's no more story. The show doesn't go on. That said, time passes. Sidney's thoughts are laid out there on those last two pages, and they stretch out through generations. And he's remembered reverently by those he saved.

"'. . . and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul than I was in the souls of both.'"

(See? Tears. Just from opening the book to get the quote right.)

There's those last two golden, beautiful lines:

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

--and the story is over, the book finished.

So why can't I let Doyle go to that rest, one I think he would truly deserve? Angel goes on. There's another page, another chapter, and Doyle isn't in the book any longer. That's a wound that doesn't heal. A bayonet to the heart. And worse, he's not remembered. Is he held more honored or sacred in Cordelia's or Angel's soul than any other? Will Cordelia regale her children with his story? He already seems forgotten.

But some of us saw him for what he was, not what he presented himself to be. Some of us can't hardly read his name without a tear coming to our eyes. He's right there with Sidney Carton. They're brothers, I think.


Note: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

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