After Charles Darnay is acquitted at his trial for treason, Sidney Carton notices the way that Lucie Manette looks at Mr. Darnay, and he envies the man.
At the end of the trial of Charles Darnay, congratulations go around; however, no one acknowledges the crucial role that Mr. Carton has played in the acquittal. Instead, Mr. Stryver basks in the victory that has been achieved. Soon, Mr. Lorry hurries off after the Manettes have left. Since the friends of the acquitted prisoner have departed in the belief that Darnay will be kept overnight, Darnay finds himself alone, so Mr. Carton offers to take him to a tavern where they can dine.
After Mr. Darnay eats his dinner, Carton suggests that Darnay give a toast. Darnay asks, "What toast?" Carton tells him, "Why, it's on the tip of your tongue...." So, Darnay says, "Miss Manette, then!" Sydney Carton teases him more about Miss Manette, but Darnay calls for his bill and departs. After his departure, Carton takes a candle and moves to a mirror where he looks at his reflection rather scornfully.
"Do you particularly like the man?" he muttered at this own image; "why should you particularly like a man who resembles you? There is nothing in you to like.... Change places with him and would you have been looked at by those blue eyes as he was, and commiserated...as he was? Come on.... You hate the fellow."
Sydney Carton says that he hates Darnay because the man reminds himself of what he could have become: namely, an excellent lawyer and a husband. Truly, he envies Darnay's character because he has been too weak to become what he should have been.