We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

  

by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities Volume II, Chapter Twenty-Four – Drawn to the Lodestone Rock Summary

  • It’s August. 1792.
  • Monseigneur, that amazing man who stands in for all French aristocrats, has decided that France is not the safest place to be hanging out.
  • He’s now fleeing across the ocean, headed for countries that are a bit more friendly than his own.
  • But we’re not concerned with Monseigneur right now. We’re back in London.
  • At Tellson’s, to be specific.
  • Tellson’s, in case you were wondering, is as dark and dingy and cramped as it ever was. That’s just the way that Mr. Lorry likes it.
  • At the moment, Charles is trying to talk Mr. Lorry out of going to France on business.
  • It’s too dangerous in France at the moment—especially for an elderly man.
  • Mr. Lorry agrees, but business is business. Tellson’s has many French customers, and someone has to look after their property, even during times of strife.
  • As it turns out, Mr. Lorry happens to be one of the youngest members of Tellson’s.
  • If anyone could brave war and revolution, it’d be him. That’s what he thinks, at any rate.
  • Charles remains unconvinced.
  • Mr. Lorry assures him that he’ll bring Jerry Cruncher along as a bodyguard.
  • Between the two of them, they should be able to stop any mischief that people might intend toward the bank or the bank’s property.
  • Charles and Mr. Lorry stand in a corner of the bank talking together.
  • Gradually, another conversation in the bank catches their attention.
  • Our good old friend, Mr. Stryver, has brought a letter to the bank. It’s addressed to a Marquis St. Evrémonde, care of Tellson’s Bank.
  • Our narrator quickly informs us that Doctor Manette made Charles promise never to reveal his real identity.
  • Perhaps that’s why Charles starts when he sees the letter—but he doesn’t say a word.
  • Luckily, Stryver has more than enough words for the entire office.
  • He explains that the new Marquis is a craven coward. He abandoned his lands before the old Marquis died.
  • Charles steps into the conversation and says that he knows the Marquis. He can deliver the letter.
  • Puzzled, Mr. Lorry hands it to him.
  • Charles quickly leaves. As he walks out, he opens the letter.
  • It’s from Monsieur Gabelle, the steward of his uncle’s lands.
  • Gabelle has been taken prisoner merely because he did what the Marquis ordered him to do.
  • Now he begs the new Marquis (Charles) to come back and take responsibility for his own lands.
  • Charles puts down the letter and begins some serious thinking.
  • Sure, he once believed that it would be better for him to abandon his inheritance entirely.
  • Starting life over in England was a bit hard, but at least he wasn’t the cause of other people’s pain.
  • Now, however, he sees that inaction can be as morally corrupt as bad actions.
  • Quickly, Charles comes to a conclusion: he must return to France.
  • With this decided, Charles sets about planning a "business" trip. He tells Lucie that he’ll be gone for a few days.
  • Then he writes a letter explaining his real situation and leaves it for her to find once he’s left.
  • He also writes to the doctor, asking him to take care of the family until he returns.
  • In the dead of the night, Charles sets out for Paris.
  • We’re not sure, but we really don’t have a very good feeling about this...

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement