Study Guide

A Tale of Two Cities Volume II, Chapter Six – Hundreds of People

By Charles Dickens

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Volume II, Chapter Six – Hundreds of People

  • Dr. Manette and Lucie live in a quiet little corner of Soho.
  • Back in the late-1700s, Soho wasn’t the center of London.
  • Nope, it was a nice, quiet spot of country.
  • On Sunday afternoons, Mr. Lorry walks from the center of town out toward Soho.
  • Everything there seems sunny and happy and all-around peachy keen.
  • It’s just like those television shows from the '50s. Happy people, happy places. Happy happy happy.
  • It looks like things have turned around for Dr. Manette.
  • He’s even started to take in a few patients; as it turns out, he was once a nationally renowned doctor.
  • Dr. Manette’s practice is on the ground floor of their home; they live on the second floor.
  • A mysterious man whom nobody has ever seen lives on the third floor. Don’t worry—he’s not important.
  • The Manettes don’t have loads of money, but Lucie has managed to make their home very…homey.
  • Mr. Lorry breathes a sigh of relief as soon as he steps inside the door.
  • Once he’s inside, a wild-looking red-haired woman greets him.
  • She’s Miss Pross.
  • Once upon a time she was Lucie’s landlady/governess, but now she lives with the Manettes.
  • She’s very, very devoted to Lucie.
  • Oh, and she calls Lucie "Ladybird." We wish we could tell you a reason for this, but we really can’t.
  • At the moment, she’s also extremely upset.
  • As she informs Mr. Lorry, ever since he interfered in Ladybird’s life, hundreds of people have been beating down her door.
  • Hundreds? Wasn’t it just one person…and wasn’t he her father?
  • Well, yes. Miss Pross might be exaggerating slightly.
  • There have been more visitors to the house than she would like, however: Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton, and Mr. Stryver have all been making regular appearances at the Manette house.
  • While the two wait for the Manettes to return, Miss Pross tells Mr. Lorry that the doctor has been up at night, pacing back and forth in his room. Only Lucie can calm him down and get him to go to sleep.
  • Eventually the Manettes return. They sit down to dinner with Mr. Lorry.
  • After dinner, Mr. Darnay stops by. Making conversation, he asks Dr. Manette if he’s seen the Tower.
  • A brief Shmoop historical interruption: the Tower of London is probably the tower to which Mr. Darnay is referring. It was the place that the British held political prisoners. In other words, it was sort of the British equivalent of the Bastille, where Dr. Manette was held. By the time that Dickens was writing A Tale of Two Cities (and even by the time that the events in the novel were supposed to have occurred), the Tower wasn’t really much of a prison anymore. Instead, it housed the Crown Jewels, which made it a nifty place to visit. You can still visit it, in fact. 
  • Back to our story, though…
  • Mr. Darnay says that folks were restoring the Tower and happened to find, in the top-most room, a hidden letter buried by a former prisoner.
  • For no apparent reason, Dr. Manette seems violently upset by this news.
  • Well, we have a hunch as to why he’s so upset.
  • During tea-time, Sydney Carton stops by.
  • It begins to rain really heavily, so everyone has to stay at the Manettes' house for a long time.

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