In "A Tale of Two Cities" what is Mrs. Pross's treatment of Mr. Lorry when they first meet?Book the First

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Miss Pross is the typical fiercely loyal, mannish British nanny.  In Chapter 4 Mr. Lorry encounters this "wild red woman, stong of hand," and dress in "some extraordinary tight-fitting fashion...[with] a "most wonderful bonnet like a Greandier wooden measure,...or a Stilton cheese."  She charges into the hotel room in Dover when she discerns that Lucie has fainted, and lays a "brawny hand upon his chest, and sends him flying back against the nearest wall.  Incredulous, Mr. Lorry thinks, "this surely must be a man." But, Miss Pross issues orders to all around her: 

'Ill let you know, if you don't bring smellin-salts, cold water, and vinegar, quick, I will!'

Abruptly, then, she speaks tenderly and solicitously to her "precious" and "bird," spreading Lucie's beautiful hair tenderly and with pride away from Lucie's face.  But, to Lorry, she is not so kind, indignantly saying to Mr. Lorry,

'And you in brown!'...'Couldn't you tell her what you had to tell her, without frightening her to death?  Look at her, with her pretty pale face and her cold hands.  Do you call that being a Banker?'

When Mr. Lorry expresses his concern saying, "I hope she will do well now," Miss Pross offers him no sympathy: "No thanks to you in brown, if she does. My darling pretty!" 

Poor Mr. Lorry cannot seem to say anything right.  When he asks if she is accompanying Lucie to France, she retorts,

'A likely thing, too!...If it was ever intended that I should go across salt water, do you suppose Providence would have cast my lot in an island?'

Ironically, as a spinster, Miss Pross in her limited environment and strict adherence to lifestyle is much the complementary character to Mr. Lorry.

 

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