"I was happy to be entrusted with the charge. I shall be more happy to execute it." Elaborate on this quote from A Tale of Two Cities.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lucie Manette needs someone to take her to England to get her father, and Jarvis Lorry is happy to do it.

Lucie Manette has never met her father.  In fact, she believes that he is dead.  She is almost a grown woman, and he has spent her entire life in a French prison.  She is now going to France to see him, but she calls herself an “orphan” because she knows nothing of the circumstances.  Her mother is dead and she at first thinks her father is too.  She did receive a letter from Tellson's Bank.

“—Respecting the small property of my poor father, whom I never saw—so long dead—” (Book 1, Chapter 4)

She is now old enough and things are happening, and she is going to France to deal with her father’s property.  She called upon Tellson’s Bank to help her do this.  Tellson’s Bank meant Jarvis Lorry.  She asked for help because she could not travel alone.

“I replied to the Bank, sir, that as it was considered necessary … that I should go to France, and that as I am an orphan‚ and have no friend who could go with me, I should esteem it highly if I might be permitted to place myself, during the journey, under that worthy gentleman’s protection....” (Book 1, Chapter 4)

Jarvis Lorry is a good man, and he also feels sympathetic toward her.  He is aware that trying to explain the circumstances to her will confuse her.  Her father is in a fragile state, “RECALLED TO LIFE” (Book 1, Chapter 4).  He is in many ways more of a ghost than a person.  He is also mentally rather weakened.  When she sees him, she will not know him, and he will not know her.  He will not likely understand what is going on.   

Lorry has a very difficult time explaining this to Lucie or preparing her.  After all, remember, he is a banker!

“He is alive. Greatly changed, it is too probable; almost a wreck, it is possible; though we will hope the best. Still, alive. Your father has been taken to the house of an old servant in Paris, and we are going there: I, to identify him‚ if I can: you, to restore him to life, love, duty, rest, comfort.” (Book 1, Chapter 4)

Of course, Lucie is disturbed by this.  She says she is going to see a “ghost.”  Lorry attempts to regain control of the situation, especially since it is a very delicate matter.  There is a revolution stirring!  It is a “secret service” because they need to get to Manette and get him out of the country safely.

Jarvis Lorry may just be a banker, but he does much more than that.  He takes on the role of caretaker and friend for this family, and though he says he is glad to be of service, it is not an easy job.  They have been through a lot, and neither of these people are stable.  Lucie has had a shock, in finding out that her father is alive, and Dr. Manette is in very poor mental health indeed.  

Yet Lorry does not just dump them in England and be done with them.  He will continue his service to this family as a friend, banker and spy, throughout their lives!  It will only get more complicated as the revolution rages on and their lives get more entangled in it.

Read the study guide:
A Tale of Two Cities

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