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Cyrano de Bergerac

In chapter four, Mr. Lorry reaches his hotel, the Royal George Hotel in Dover, England.  Much of the chapter shows Lorry waiting for Lucie Manette, a character yet to be introduced to the audience, to come and meet him at his hotel.  The reader understands that Lorry’s business with Lucie Manette has something to do with the man who has been buried alive for eighteen years, but really does not understand the connection between the two of them, despite insight into Lorry’s musings prior to meeting Lucie. 

Once Lucie arrives, the big mystery is revealed.  Lucie has grown up believing that she is an orphan.  While her mother is dead, her father, Dr. Alexandre Manette, is actually alive.  He disappeared without a trace, which led her mother to believe that he had died, but he actually spent the last eighteen years imprisoned in the Bastille.  Lorry is unable or unwilling to provide information explaining why Dr. Manette was imprisoned, but is able to tell Lucie that Dr. Manette has been released from prison.  Mr. Lorry’s employer, Tellson’s Bank, is sending him to Paris to identify Dr. Manette and return him to England.  He makes it clear to Lucie that he intends to return Dr. Manette to her and that she will be responsible for caring for her father.  Lucie is shocked by the revelation that her father is alive.  Mr. Lorry, still locked in his bureaucratic mode, is not quite sure how to help her and calls for help.  Miss Pross, who has been responsible for Lucie’s care for years, comes running into the room.  She takes care of Lucie with obvious love, shoving away Mr. Lorry and screaming for smelling salts, but her manner is somewhat masculine and brutish.

Revelation is one of the main themes of the chapter.  The servants at the Royal George watch in curiosity to see Mr. Lorry’s true appearance as he emerges from his room, just as the reader is curious to discover the nature of Lorry’s secret.  Even as Lorry reveals his secret, there is mystery about it.  First, he presents the scenario to Lucie as a hypothetical, as if he is assessing her ability to deal with the type of scenario he is describing.  Second, even after he reveals that the man who has been imprisoned is Lucie’s father, there is still mystery to the story.  No one knows what circumstances led to Dr. Manette’s imprisonment, and why it was done in secret.

Another element revealed in this chapter is Mr. Lorry’s true nature.  Up until this point, he has been presented as a somewhat staid and serious businessman who is all about practicality, not passion.  However, he is clearly impacted by the emotion of the situation.  He takes great care with Lucie’s feelings.  He also calls for help when he cannot reassure Lucie.

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