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Free Study Guide-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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Chapter Twelve: The Fellow of Delicacy

Summary

Before Stryver's vacation begins, he decides to propose to Lucie. He heads towards her house in Soho. On his way, he stops at Tellson's Bank to inform Mr. Lorry of his plans to marry Lucie. Mr. Lorry, on hearing the news, hints that Stryver will not be successful. Stryver is shocked at the suggestion and demands to know what prevents him from being a suitable, prospective husband. Mr. Lorry intimates that Lucie may not find him agreeable. This upsets Stryver even more, and he calls Lucie silly and giddy-headed. Such criticisms of Lucie annoy Mr. Lorry, for he is excessively fond of and protective towards her.

Lorry agrees to go to the Manette residence to get a feel for Lucie's estimation of Stryver. He returns with the news that Stryver has been rejected by Lucie, as expected. Stryver pretends to be unbothered by the news and judges his proposal to be an act of charity that has somehow misfired.


Notes

Dickens continues his satirical portrait of Mr. Stryver when he refers to him as a fellow of delicacy; in truth, he is just the opposite. At Tellson's Bank he shows that he is pompous, almost swelling up to fill the place with his presence; he proudly tells Mr. Lorry that he is going to marry Lucie. Mr. Lorry tactfully tries to point out that his proposal may not be accepted. Stryver cannot imagine that anyone would not want to be his wife.

When Lucie rejects Stryver as a suitor, his only reaction is that she is a fool to turn his offer down. He then tries to make it seem as though he is rejecting Lucie. It is obvious that Stryver regards himself highly and is always spurred by his selfish motives. His characteristic of shoving people around is demonstrated when he shoulders Mr. Lorry out of his house while giving an appearance of generosity, forbearance, and good will.

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