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Book 2, Chapter 20 Notes from A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 20

When Charles and Lucie return home, their first visitor is Sydney Carton. Darnay notices that Carton seems friendlier, in his own rugged way. Carton pulls Charles aside after a time and tells him he hopes they might be friends. Darnay tells him they already are. Carton says that Darnay knows him as a "dissolute dog" who has never done any good and never will. Darnay replies that he isn't sure Carton will never do any good. Carton says he can assure him he will not, but he asks Darnay if he could endure such a miserable wretch as himself to come and go as a privileged friend at their residence. He tells him he would not abuse the privilege, just that it would satisfy him to know that he had it. Darnay replies that he can. The men shake hands, and after the discussion, Carton returns, by all outward appearances, to his usual self.

Later, over dinner, Miss Pross, the Doctor, Darnay and Mr. Lorry discuss the conversation, and Darnay refers to Carton as a problem, with his carelessness and recklessness. After dinner, when he retreats to his apartment, Darnay finds Lucie in an unusually contemplative state. She tells him that he should be more thoughtful of Carton than he was at dinner. He asks why, and she says that she cannot tell him. He asks what he should do, and she tells him he should be very generous and kind to Carton always and be forgiving of his faults. She says that though Carton very rarely reveals his heart, she knows it is wounded, as she has seen it bleeding. He tells her it is a painful thought to think he might have done any wrong to Carton. She tells him that Carton, sadly, is not to be reclaimed, but that she is sure he is capable of good things. He holds her close, and she exclaims that they must remember how rich they are in their happiness and how poor Carton is in his misery. He tells her he will always remember it.

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