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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities


by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities Volume II, Chapter Ten – Two Promises Summary

  • Back in England, Charles Darnay, ex-French aristocrat, is making a decent living as a tutor.
  • What does he teach? French, of course.
  • Everything’s coming up roses for him.
  • Sure, it’s not as lucrative as a decades-old title, but he’s making honest pay for an honest day’s work.
  • Also, he’s madly in love with Lucie.
  • That’s what’s top on his mind as he heads over to Soho to the Manettes’s house.
  • The doctor is at home.
  • His life has only continued to improve. He’s working all the time, which makes him pretty happy.
  • He hasn’t relapsed into depression or memory loss in a long time.
  • Charles walks into the room, and Doctor Manette greets him happily.
  • They haven’t seen each other in a few days: Charles has been busy working with his students, and the doctor has his patients.
  • The doctor remarks that it’s unfortunate that Lucie isn’t around to greet him, as well.
  • Charles cuts him short. He knew that Lucie wasn’t in.
  • Sensing that this will be a conversation that he won’t like, Doctor Manette asks Charles to remember how essential Lucie is to his well-being.
  • Charles says he understands. He wouldn’t mention her name—but he loves her too much to keep quiet any longer.
  • Doctor Manette already knows this.
  • He asks Charles if Charles has said anything about his love to Lucie.
  • Charles says that he’d never approach Lucie without telling Doctor Manette first. In fact, that’s why he’s here.
  • Aww… what a gentleman, huh?
  • Explaining that he understands how important Lucie is in Doctor Manette’s life, Charles says that he’ll never do anything that would jeopardize their relationship. In fact, if he married Lucie, he’d want to move in with them.
  • That way, their house would be disrupted as little as possible.
  • Doctor Manette asks if Charles wants him to say anything to Lucie about this conversation.
  • Charles immediately refuses.
  • He knows how much Doctor Manette’s opinion matters to Lucie.
  • If he told her to jump, she’d ask "How high?"
  • Okay, that’s not actually in the book.
  • But if he told her to think about Charles, she’d marry him—without thinking about whether or not she loved him.
  • Charles doesn’t want this. He asks Doctor Manette not to say anything.
  • What he does ask, however, is that Doctor Manette agree to tell Lucie of this conversation if she comes to her father to talk about Charles.
  • In the interests of full disclosure, Charles also wants to tell Doctor Manette about his past… in France.
  • Doctor Manette seems startled. He immediately shuts Charles down.
  • He doesn’t want to know about Charles’s history.
  • Okay, okay: if Lucie and Charles get married, then Charles can tell him about his past. But that’s a big if.
  • Charles leaves, happy with their conversation.
  • A few hours later, Lucie returns from her shopping trip.
  • Miss Pross meets her at the door.
  • She’s frantic. Ever since Charles left, Doctor Manette has been up in his room, pacing the way that he used to. And he’s been working at making shoes again.
  • He won’t come down. In fact, he doesn’t seem to hear her when she calls.
  • Lucie runs upstairs.
  • Their voices are heard upstairs. Eventually the two come down; she convinces her father to fall asleep.

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