Why must Mr. Lorry dissuade Mr. Styver from marrying Lucie?"A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens

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In a satiric chapter, entitled "The Fellow of Delicacy," Charles Dickens juxtaposes the gentlemanly, self-effacing, but sensible Mr. Lorry with the vociferous, aggressive Mr. Stryver, who "shoulders" his way through life, oblivious to the reactions of others.  As a barrister who has won cases thanks to the analytical thinking of his jackal, Sydney Carton, Stryver obtusely believes himself successful and aspiring; he is the prototype of the coarse newly-rich in Dickens's Victorian society.  That any woman who wish to be his wife is his self-assured conclusion.  However, when he conveys his attitude to Mr. Lorry, the latter knows that Lucie does not perceive Stryver in the light in which he sees himself.  Therefore, when Stryver mentions that he is going to propose to Lucie, Mr. Lorry, whose affections are for Lucie, senses the urgency of dissuading him.  Unable to take an honorable defeat, Stryver it into an ignoble victory by pretending that Lucie wanted to snare him.

In Chapter 12 of Book the Second, ironically entitled, "The Fellow of Delicacy," Stryver

having made up his mind to that magnanimous bestowal of good fortune on the doctor's dauther, resolved to make her hapiness known to her before he left town for the Long Vacation.

Dickens satirically depicts his decision making as analogous to a court case: 

As to the strength of his case, he had not a doubt about it, but clearly saw his way to the verdict.  Argued with the jury on substantial woldly grounds--the only grounds ever worth taking into account--it was a plain case, and had not a weak spot in it.  He called himself for the plaintiff, there was no getting over his evidence, the counsel for the defendant threw up his brief, and the jury did not even turn to consider.  After trying it, Stryver C.J. was satisfied that no plainer case could be.

However, when he encounters Mr. Lorry, the man "of business" tells Stryver that he should not go to Lucy's house without a reasonable conviction that he will succeed.  But, Stryver in his arrogance retorts,

'Then you mean to tell me, Mr Lorry....that the young lady in question is a mincing Fool?'

At this insult to Lucie, Mr. Lorry reddens, telling the "advancing" man that he will hear no insults about Lucie.  He advises Stryver that he will go to Soho tonight and report to Stryver.  To this, the barrister agrees; he returns home convinced that he will put Lucie "all in the wrong."  When Lorry arrives, Stryver feigns disinterest, telling him "no matter, no matter":

'Young women have committed similar follies often before, and have repented them in poverty and obscurity often before...There is no harm at all done.  I have not proposed to the young lady,...you were right, it never would have done.'

Mr. Lorry was so taken aback...[he] was out in the night, before he knew where he was.  Mr. Stryver was lying back on his sofa, winking at his ceiling.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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