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A Tale of Two Cities: Novel Summary: Book II Chapter 6

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Book II
Chapter 6

Four months pass. Mr. Lorry is in the habit of visiting Lucie and Dr. Manette in their pleasant Soho home on Sunday afternoons. Dr. Manette practices medicine from his house and has earned a reputation as a shrewd and vigilant scientist. On an exceptionally fine Sunday Mr. Lorry arrives at the Manette residence and is told that Dr. and Miss Manette are out but will return shortly. Mr. Lorry goes upstairs to wait. He notices that Dr. Manette's old shoe making tools sit unused in the Doctor's bedroom. Miss Pross enters and they engage in a sharp but friendly conversation about the people who come to visit Lucie. Miss Pross is afraid that Lucie's affections will be taken from her and she asserts that none of the callers are as good for her as Miss Pross' estranged brother, Solomon, whom Mr. Lorry knows to be a dishonest scoundrel. Mr. Lorry questions Miss Pross about Dr. Manette's health and asks why he has not disposed of the shoemaking bench and tools. Miss Pross posits the theory that the Doctor is afraid of losing his mind again. She observes that the doctor shies away from any discussion of his imprisonment. She confides that sometimes the doctor paces the floor in the night and Lucie walks with him until he is composed. At that moment the house, which is so situated on street that any footsteps in the street echo loudly within, begins to resound with the approach of Lucie and Doctor Manette. The group has a pleasant dinner and then, owing to the heat of the evening, they sit under the plane tree and drink wine. Mr. Darnay joins them and in the course of conversation tells them of a story he heard regarding some buried scraps of paper found in the Tower (prison) that had been interred long ago by an inmate but were deteriorated and could not be deciphered. Doctor Manette is visibly upset by the story but claims that his consternation is result of the rain that has begun to fall. The group goes inside for tea where Mr. Carton joins them. The drops of rain continue to fall with greater frequency and as they listen to the echoes of unseen people's footsteps rushing in the street Lucie remarks on her fancy that when she listens to the footsteps she imagines that they represent the hundreds of people who will enter their lives. A great thunderstorm breaks and it is one o'clock in the morning before it has cleared sufficiently for Mr. Lorry to walk home with Jerry as an escort.

Analysis of Chapter 6
This chapter establishes the close knit-ties among the Manettes, Charles Darnay, Miss Pross and Mr. Lorry. Mr. Lorry is accepted as a surrogate uncle and Miss Pross, though she affects to be in their service, is very much part of the "family". Sydney Carton's presence indicates that he also feels comfortable paying the Manette's a visit but his aloof and morose demeanor, while accepted among the group, establishes emotional distance between him and the others. Charles Darnay's story about the discovered manuscript obviously upsets the doctor and foreshadows the discovery of a different manuscript that the doctor has either forgotten or is trying to forget at the time. Lucie's interpretation of the echoing footsteps also serves to foreshadow the footsteps of the Paris mob that will soon enter all their lives.


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