A Tale of Two Seasons: C Dickens on Collingwood’s 2014

A Tale of Two Seasons: Collingwood 2014

A lot has already been written and spoken about Collingwood in 2014. We all know the 8-3 start to the year and the 3-8 end. We know about young ‘uns and injuries. We know about skill errors and tactical decisions. We know about hope for the future. Yet it struck me that Charles Dickens already wrote the story of Collingwood’s 2014. And so I’ve lifted the following quotes from his “A Tale of Two Cities”; a book for which he first started hatching the idea in 1859.
I’ve slotted passages into appropriate places of Collingwood’s 2014. And so…

A Tale of Two Seasons, Charles Dickens (edited by DJ Wilson, Your Honour)


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season 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 to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

The Golden Thread

0-1 R1: Collingwood 5.16.46 d by Fremantle 17.14.116

1-1 R2: Sydney 10.9.69 d by Collingwood 12.17.89

1-2 R3: Collingwood 11.10.76 d by Geelong 12.15.87

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room of every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!”

2-2 R4: Richmond 10.12.72 d by Collingwood 16.14.110

3-2 R5: Collingwood 13.15.93 d North Melbourne 8.10.58

4-2 R6: Collingwood 12.11.83 d Essendon 8.12.60

5-2 R7: Carlton 10.10.70 d by Collingwood 14.20.104

“One lacquey carried the chocolate-pot into the sacred presence; a second, milled and frothed the chocolate with the little instrument he bore for that function; a third, presented the favoured napkin; a fourth (he of the two gold watches), poured the chocolate out. It was impossible for Monseigneur to dispense with one of these attendants on the chocolate and hold his high place under the admiring Heavens. Deep would have been the blot upon his escutcheon if his chocolate had been ignobly waited on by only three men; he must have died of two.”


5-3 R9: Adelaide 10.16.76 d Collingwood 7.13.55

6-3 R10: Collingwood 17.7.109 d West Coast 15.11.101

7-3 R11: St Kilda 8.6.54 d by Collingwood 21.14.140

8-3 R12: Melbourne 3.10.28 d by Collingwood 8.13.61

“The discreet Mr. Lorry said, in a sample tone of the voice he would recommend under the circumstances, “How do you do, Mr. Stryver? How do you do, sir?” and shook hands. There was a peculiarity in his manner of shaking hands, always to be seen in any clerk at Tellson’s who shook hands with a customer when the House pervaded the air. He shook in a self-abnegating way, as one who shook for Tellson and Co.”

The Track of a Storm

“At first, there were times, though she was a perfectly happy young wife, when her work would slowly fall from her hands, and her eyes would be dimmed. For, there was something coming in the echoes, something light, afar off, and scarcely audible yet, that stirred her heart too much.”

0-1 R13: Collingwood d by Western Bulldogs 16.10.106

0-2 R14: Hawthorn 17.13.115 d Collingwood 13.8.86

“Fluttering hopes and doubts – hopes, of a love as yet unknown to her: doubts, of her remaining upon earth, to enjoy that new delight – divided her breast. Among the echoes then, there would arise the sound of footsteps at her own grave; and thoughts of the husband who would be left so desolate, and who would mourn for her so much, swelled to her eyes, and broke like waves.”

1-2 R15: Collingwood 13.13.91 d Carlton 11.10.76

1-3 R16: Gold Coast 11.14.80 d Collingwood 10.15.75

He had since seen her, in the Section of Saint Antoine, over and over again produce her knitted registers, and denounce people whose lives the guillotine then surely swallowed up. He knew, as every one employed as he was did, that he was never safe; that flight was impossible; that he was tied fast under the shadow of the axe; and that in spite of his utmost tergiversation and treachery in furtherance of the reigning terror, a word might bring it down upon him.

1-4 R17: Essendon 16.7.103 d Collingwood 5.9.39

1-5 R18: Collingwood 12.10.82 d by Adelaide 14.14.98

“It struck him motionless. The gaoler standing at his side, and the other gaolers moving about, who would have been well enough as to appearance in the ordinary exercise of their functions, looked so extravagantly coarse contrasted with sorrowing mothers and blooming daughters who were there–with the apparitions of the coquette, the young beauty, and the mature woman delicately bred–that the inversion of all experience and likelihood which the scene of shadows presented, was heightened to its utmost. Surely, ghosts all. Surely, the long unreal ride some progress of disease that had brought him to these gloomy shades!”

2-5 R19: Collingwood 11.10.76 d Port Adelaide 10.10.70

2-6 R20: West Coast 19.12.126 d Collingwood 10.6.60

2-7 R21: Collingwood 8.8.56 d by Brisbane 18.15.123

“Happily, however, there was sleep in Beauvais that night to help them out of it and they passed on once more into solitude and loneliness: jingling through the untimely cold and wet, among impoverished fields that had yielded no fruits of the earth that year, diversified by the blackened remains of burnt houses, and by the sudden emergence from ambuscade, and sharp reining up across their way, of patriot patrols on the watch on all the roads.”

3-7 R22: GWS 9.13.67 d by Collingwood 11.9.75

“Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their own directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight upon him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”

3-8 R23: Collingwood 8.8.56 d by Hawthorn 18.13.121

The Beyond

“ “I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, fore-most of just judges and honoured men, bringing a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place—then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day’s disfigurement—and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and a faltering voice.
“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.” “

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a hydrologist, climate reporter and writer of fiction & observational stories. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Thanks David. Like Adelaide the Magpies had a fluctuating season of stirring victories and grim defeats.

    Tergiversation is a mighty good word. Very Dickensian. When I taught in England I had to teach A Christmas Carol, which initially worried me given some of the boys at school. However most of them loved it, once they got a handle on the language. You’ve urged me to re-read it!

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Collingwoods run with injury was just ridiculous it also showed how vital , Maxwell was as a player and leader . I suspect in Scharenburg and McGaffer going down for next season influenced the pies decision not to take the risk with , Ball thanks OBP

  3. G’day Mickey – yes that C Dickens can tell a story. I was lucky enough to visit his birthplace in Portsmouth a few weeks ago. From whose souvenir shop I bought… “A Tale of Two Cities.”
    The language is challenging at times; I’ve been noting the words foreign to me with the aim of adding them seamlessly into my vocabulary, so as not to ambuscade anyone (how was that?)

    G’day Rulebook – I reckon you’re spot on. Looking through some of those early results — wins against Sydney, Essendon, North – the team had Beams, Macaffer, Maxwell and others firing.
    Sure, injuries and luck play their part.
    But you’ve still got the task of beating the opposition on the day.
    Grundy and Frost probably the big positives from the year.
    Good signs, but then again, there are 17 other clubs all improving as well.

  4. Luke Reynolds says


    Knew I’d heard that last line of the article somewhere else. Brilliant work again E.regnans. Dickens sure knows his Collingwood.

  5. Wowser.
    And L Reynolds sure knows his Batman.
    And Batman sure knows his C Dickens.
    That’s a good pick-up.

  6. Superb take on a season of fluttering hopes and doubts ER.

    I think we could do with a few David Copperfields up forward in 2015 – though I refer to the magician not the Dickens.

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