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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

‘A Tale of Two Cities’, Dickens’s twelfth novel, was published in  instalments in a weekly magazine.   The first instalment appeared on 30 April 1859 and the last on  26 November, the story was published a complete novel in the  same month.   The story opens in 1775, setting the scene for the French  Revolution, during which the bulk of the narrative takes place.  In the earlier period of the book Jarvis Lorry, who is agent for  Tellson’s Bank in London, travels to Dover to keep an  appointment at a local inn. In Chapter 4 the town is described and the possibility of  smuggling by the inhabitants is hinted at:  
Dover 1780, around the time 'A Tale of Two Cities' is set.
“When Mr. Lorry had finished his breakfast, he went out for a stroll on the beach. The little narrow, crooked town of Dover hid itself  away from the beach, and ran its head into the chalk cliffs, like a marine ostrich. The beach was a desert of heaps of sea and stones  tumbling wildly about, and the sea did what it liked, and what it liked was destruction. It thundered at the town, and thundered at the  cliffs, and brought the coast down, madly. The air among the houses was of so strong a piscatory flavour that one might have  supposed sick fish went up to be dipped in it, as sick people went down to be dipped in the sea. A little fishing was done in the port,  and a quantity of strolling about by night, and looking seaward: particularly at those times when the tide made, and was near flood.  Small tradesmen, who did no business whatever, sometimes unaccountably realised large fortunes, and it was remarkable that nobody  in the neighbourhood could endure a lamplighter.” 
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