A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 12
Book 2, Chapter 12
Mr. Stryver has decided that he is ready to propose to Lucie. He first pays a visit to Jarvis Lorry at Tellson's to ask him what he thinks of the idea. Mr. Lorry tells Mr. Stryver that he does not believe this would be a good idea. Mr. Stryver is enraged, demanding to know if he is not eligible, successful, and ambitious. Mr. Lorry agrees that he is, but he does not back down from his position. He tells Mr. Stryver that he will pay a visit to Lucie and the doctor and try to find out subtly if Lucie would be agreeable to the idea; he will then go to Mr. Stryver's house that night and tell him what he finds out. Mr. Stryver agrees. Later, Mr. Lorry pays a visit to Mr. Stryver and tells him that his original opinion has been confirmed. Mr. Stryver pretends that he is relieved, as he did not really want to bother with marriage anyway:
"'There is no harm at all done. I have not proposed to the young lady, and, between ourselves, I am by no means certain, on reflection, that I ever should have committed myself to that extent. Mr. Lorry, you cannot control the mincing vanities and giddiness of empty-headed girls; you must not expect to do it, or you will always be disappointed. Now, pray say no more about it. I tell you, I regret it on account of others, but I am satisfied on my own account. And I am really very much obliged to you for allowing me to sound you, and for giving me your advice; you know the young lady better than I do; you were right, it never would have done.'" Book 2, Chapter 12, pp. 144-145
Mr. Lorry leaves, stunned at Mr. Stryver's about-face.