A Tale of Two Cities


Book 2, Chapter 10

This chapter picks up after Darnay’s return to England, where he has established himself as a tutor and teacher.  As the reader already knows, Darnay has been in love with Lucie since his trial for treason.  However, having renounced his ties to his family and proven to himself that he is capable of supporting himself and a family, Darnay is finally ready to ask Dr. Manette for Lucie’s hand in marriage.  However, Darnay is not certain as to whether Lucie shares his feelings, so he asks Dr. Manette not to tell Lucie of his feelings unless or until Lucie mentions having the same feelings for him.  Darnay also tries to tell Dr. Manette his real identity, but Dr. Manette seems to realize that something about Darnay’s identity could cause problems, and asks Darnay to keep the information secret until the day he marries Lucie.  When Darnay leaves, Dr. Manette experiences a short-term relapse into his prison mental state.  Lucie returns home to find him making shoes, but he stops when Lucie calls his name.  Most significantly, he does not mention Darnay’s visit to his daughter. 

This chapter makes it clear that there is some unknown connection between the Manettes and Darnay.  It also helps explain some things that have previously occurred in the book that seemed incongruous with the events of the book.  For example, Darnay has always been good to Dr. Manette, who seems to have a genuine affection for him.  Despite that strong relationship, Dickens mentions Dr. Manette giving Darnay funny looks at times, suggesting that his feelings for the man go beyond the affable relationship that they have established.

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