Sydney Carton has been at the Manettes many times, but he has always been brooding and generally silent. He talked well when he bothered to do so, which wasn’t often. However, he frequently walks to the house and stops to observe it.
The day Stryver announces his intentions to marry Miss Manette, Carton pays a visit to Lucie Manette. She receives him with some embarrassment, for she has never been very comfortable around him. However, she becomes concerned when she notices that he looks ill. He tells her that his lifestyle does not promote health, but he shall never be a better man than he is—and he will only get worse. He apologizes for breaking down in front of her and asks to be allowed to speak freely what is on his mind.
He tells her he knows she cannot love him, and he is glad for it. He would bring her nothing but misery and disgrace. Lucie asks if she can help him, but he says no. He tells her that since he has met her, he has been haunted by dreams of his better self. He is troubled by remorse because he knows he is too weak to strive for that dream. However, he wanted her to know that she inspired him. He asks her to keep it to herself, and he says he will never refer to it again. However, he will be glad on his death bed that he told her.
He promises her that he would do anything for her. However, he expects that soon she shall be happily married.