In Ch.4 Why does Mr.Lorry tell Lucie that his relation with her father was just "mere business" and there isn't any friendship in it?Charles Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like the Tellson's Bank for which he works, Mr. Lorry is old and institutionalized.  He has spent his bachelor life growing old in Tellson's and his greatest virtue is his work ethic.  Dickens portrays Mr. Lorry as representative of the middle class of England. 

When Mr. Lorry accompanies the daughter of his former client, Dr. Manette, to the inn before they travel to Paris, he speaks as a businessman to Lucie Manette in an effort to calm her when he reveals the reason for their going to the French city.  In Chapter 4 of Book the First, Mr. Lorry must inform Lucy that the father she has believed dead is alive.  As he relates his information, Lucie becomes "agitated," so Mr. Lorry tells her to think of it merely as "business":

'pray control your agitation--a matter of business.  As I was saying--....Regard it as a matter of business-business that must be done.....Let us be clear-headed....

Mr. Lorry feels that if he can get Lucie to look upon the discovery of her father and her meeting with him as something that simply must be done, she will remain calm. But, he does not understand women, having been a bachelor all his life. When Lucie is overcome, Miss Pross charges in, scolding him for having frightened her "precious" ward.  Poor Mr. Lorry is totally disconcerted.

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A Tale of Two Cities

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