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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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Chapter Seventeen: One Night


On the eve of her wedding day, Lucie is ecstatic and spends the entire evening with her father. As they sit in the courtyard, Lucie assures Dr. Manette that her love for Darnay will never replace or change the love she has for him.

The Doctor is now happy about the marriage and states how fond he is of Darnay. One of his fears has always been that Lucie would never know the happiness of a spouse and child, which have provided him with great joy in his own life. He mentions his long imprisonment and how he had often wondered about the fate of his child, still unborn at the time of his capture. Sometimes he would imagine the child to be a boy, who would seek vengeance on his behalf. At other times he imagined the child to be a girl, who looked just like her mother and who would come to visit him in prison, finally setting him free. He confesses that the happiness that Lucie has given him far exceeds the happiness from the children about which he had dreamed.

When father and daughter go inside for dinner, they are joined by Miss Pross, who is going to be the bridesmaid. Mr. Lorry is the only other person who will be present at the wedding. After dinner, the Doctor bids everyone goodnight and goes to bed. After a while, Lucie checks in on him and sits lovingly by his bedside watching her father sleep.


Lucie's conversation with her father shows Dr. Manette in another light. During his long imprisonment, he admits that he had thoughts of retribution and imagined having a son who would seek vengeance for the injustice done to his father. When he imagined having a daughter, he pictured her as beautiful and compassionate, just like Lucie has proven to be. Dr. Manette, however, says she has brought him more happiness than he ever could have imagined; her love outweighs the misery and torture he has suffered and negates the need for revenge. Dickens thus emphasizes the power of pure love, as symbolized in Lucie. Because of her loving care, she has redeemed her father from death and restored him to life.

There is an atmosphere of calm, quiet, and peace as father and daughter share confidences with each other. Lucie reassures Dr. Manette that her marriage will do nothing to change her love for him. He, in turn, explains that he is happy about the marriage, for he has worried that Lucie might never experience the joy of marriage and parenthood, the things that Dr. Manette values most in life.

As the wedding fast approaches, it is important to remember that at this point Dr. Manette still does not know the background of his future son-in-law. When Darnay tried to tell the doctor about his past, he refused to listen and forbid Darnay to bring up the topic again until the morning of Lucie's marriage. The reader is, therefore, prepared for some kind of a shock to happen on the wedding day.

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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free Plot Summary


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