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Summary Chapter 23

Dr. Manette and Lucie sit under a tree in their garden the night before she is to be married. Lucie is devoting her last night to her father, giving him her full attention. She asks if he is happy, and he replies yes. She is happy too, but she could never forgive herself if her marriage came between them. She asks if he has any concerns that it will. He answers no. He assures her that he considers his future brighter with her marriage. He does not want her life wasted on account of him.

Lucie admits that after seeing Charles, she could never have been fully happy living without him. Her father replies that if it hadn’t been Charles, it would have been someone else—unless his life overshadowed hers in a negative way.

He reflects about how the sight of the moon used to torture him in prison, when it shined on the life he had lost. He had often thought about his unborn child and wondered about its fate. Did his wife’s shock kill the child? Was it a boy who would avenge him? Or would it be a son who believed his father had deserted his family? Would it be a daughter who would grow into a woman? He often pictured his daughter being ignorant of him. He imagined her marrying. He imagined himself perishing anonymously.

Sometimes, though, he saw the phantom of his daughter come to his cell. She would free him. He could never hold her. She would show him her home with a husband and children. In this home, he was not forgotten. His portrait hung on the wall, and she remembered him in her prayers.

During the night, Lucie checks on her father. He is sleeping soundly.

Charles Dickens