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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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Chapter Four: Congratulatory

Summary

After the trial, Dr. Manette, Lucie Manette, Mr. Lorry, and Mr. Stryver stand around Charles Darnay congratulating him on his acquittal. Dr. Manette, with his intellectual face and upright figure, no longer looks like the shoemaker of the garret in Paris. However, if that past time is ever mentioned, his spirit becomes clouded with a gloomy fit of abstraction. Only his daughter has the power to charm away the dark brooding from his mind.

Darnay kisses Lucie's hand warmly and gratefully and turns to thank Mr. Stryver. Dr. Manette suddenly looks at Darnay with dislike and distrust. Since the Doctor is tired, Lucie takes him home. Mr. Lorry also departs. Sydney Carton approaches Darnay and asks him how it feels to be looking at his double, referring to himself. Darnay responds that he only feels faint from the trial. Mr. Carton suggests that he should get something to eat and escorts him to a tavern.


Darnay thanks Mr. Carton for his timely aid even though he is starting to dislike this coarse double of himself. Mr. Carton also dislikes Darnay's attention to Lucie since he too is attracted to her. At the tavern, Mr. Carton drinks too much, making Darnay uncomfortable. He pays the bill and prepares to leave. Before he departs, Mr. Carton tells Darnay that he is alone in the world; he cares for no one, and no one cares for him. When he is by himself in the tavern, Carton drinks some more wine and falls asleep on his arms.

Notes

Dr. Manette is no longer pale and stooped, and his face reveals his intelligence. He has significantly improved under his tender daughter's care. Lucie is the "Golden Thread" that unites him to a past before his misery and to a present beyond his misery. The sound of her compassionate voice and the light on her face helps him to forget the intervening period. Dr. Manette still has some unpleasant memories, which surface from time to time. When he looks at Darnay, Manette seems to remember something about him that he does not like. This fact is crucial to the plot later in the story. Dickens for now, however, keeps up the suspense as to what the connection is.

Darnay is attracted to Lucie, as evidenced by his gracious kissing of her hand and kind thanks to her for vouchsafing his character. Carton is also attracted to Lucie. They are not, however, attracted to one another. Darnay dislikes Carton's coarseness, cynicism, and drinking, and Carton dislike Darnay's smoothness, especially in his approach to Lucie. Their mutual dislike for each other is ironic, for in the end it is Carton who saves the life of Darnay. This man who "cares about no one" makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to insure Lucie's happiness.

Mr. Stryver is also described in the chapter. He is a stout, young man of thirty who looks old for his age. He is free from any delicacy, and shoulders his way morally and physically through life.

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