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The main theme is a foreshadowing, a kind of calm before the storm.
The setting is a scene of typical domestic tranquility - Sunday dinner with the Manettes. The main protagonists, Dr. Manette, Lucie, Darnay, and Carton, are all present. Although everything seems peaceful for the moment, there are a number of signs that disaster is approaching. Dr. Manette's shoemaking bench and tools are present, indicating that the effects of his imprisonment are still there. There is a storm coming, and echoes of distant footsteps, which grow increasingly louder. The chapter ends with the line, "Perhaps, see, the great crowd of people with its rush and roar, bearing down upon them, too."
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